This might not seem like the best year to be in the live events business, given that conferences have gone online, concerts are being staged virtually, and sports are being played behind closed doors. But one startup is preparing for the return of public gatherings by offering venues the technology and data to help them emerge from lockdown and safely accommodate fans.
Realife Tech was originally founded in 2014 as LiveStyled, offering a white-label backend music and sports venues could integrate into their own mobile apps to deliver real-time tailored content or help fans find their way around, buy tickets, and preorder merchandise. Today the London-based company is rebranding and relaunching with $7.2 million in fresh funding and a Covid Safety Hub it hopes will help get people back inside public venues. As Realife Tech founder and CEO Adam Goodyer explains, the company wants to help “events around the world return to action” and “assist in kickstarting the economy.”
The live music industry alone is a $28 billion market, and while watching bands perform from their living room holds a certain charm, the experience of seeing them live on stage alongside thousands of like-minded fans is hard to replicate. Realife Tech isn’t launching any major new technology, but it’s setting out to show how its existing technology, and a few new tools, can help venues maintain some degree of social distancing.
For example, venues can allocate entry slots so attendees will only be able to enter the grounds during a specific time frame. And contactless collection enables consumers to order food and drink through their mobile phone and receive an alert when it’s ready to pick up.
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However, Realife Tech is more than a mobile app. The platform joins the dots between data generated from systems that include mobile apps, ticketing systems, Wi-Fi hotspots, point-of-sale (POS) systems, digital advertising screens, and more to offer a unified view of attendees as they move around a venue. This can be used to reduce queues and deliver targeted messaging through public address systems or a mobile app.
Realife Tech leans on Crowd Connected’s Colocator footfall analytics to see how people are traveling to and around a venue, data that can be used to inform social distancing initiatives.
Venues can also reassure anxious fans by sending out checklists that explain what they need to do before, during, and after leaving a venue.
Although Realife Tech can help maintain social distancing measures, there’s no escaping the obvious — people who congregate to watch a live music or sporting event will likely have to stand in close proximity. As there probably isn’t any completely safe way to reopen live venues at this point, the technology is more about reducing some of the risks.
It’s certainly notable that Realife Tech has managed to raise funds, given the industry it operates in. By contrast, a number of startups have recently raised funds to support digital events. Run The World, a Mountain View-based startup that helps companies stage events online, raised $10.8 million from big-name backers like Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund. And Los Angeles-based Wave secured $30 million to help performers stage shows online.
Realife Tech’s series A, which was led by Virgo Investment Group, with participation from Superfly Ventures and Stadia Ventures, may seem overly optimistic. But music and sports industries will have to open again at some point — and the company is providing tools to help that happen. It has already gained some fans of its own, with notable clients including LA Galaxy, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and The O2 in London.
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