This might not seem like the year to be in live events, 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 more safely accommodate fans.
Realife Tech was founded in 2014 as LiveStyled, offering a white-label backend that 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 worth $28 billion, 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, with 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, minimizing concession lines.
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.
Realife Tech leans on Crowd Connected’s Colocator footfall analytics to see how people are traveling to and around a venue. This data can be used to inform social distancing measures, reduce lines, and deliver targeted messaging through public address systems or a mobile app.
Venues can also reassure anxious fans by sending out checklists that explain what they need to do before, during, and after attending an event.
Although Realife Tech can help venues follow social distancing guidelines, there’s no escaping the obvious — people who attend live music or sporting events will likely be in close proximity to each other. As there isn’t a completely safe way to reopen live venues at this point, the technology instead aims to reduce some of the inherent risks.
It’s certainly notable that Realife Tech has managed to raise funds at this time. In fact, a number of startups have recently raised funds to support digital events in a move away from live venues. Run The World, a Mountain View-based startup that helps companies stage online events, 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.
In this context, Realife Tech’s series A, which was led by Virgo Investment Group with participation from Superfly Ventures and Stadia Ventures, may seem rather optimistic. But music and sports industries will have to open again at some point. And Realife Tech has already gained some fans of its own, with notable clients including LA Galaxy, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and London’s The O2.