Moment House has raised $1.5 million in funding to elevate virtual live music performances that people pay to attend. It is filling a gap that has widened during the pandemic, in the digital space between free live performances and paid concerts.
Forerunner Ventures led the round, which included angel investors Troy Carter, Palm Tree Crew Investments (Kygo and Myles Shear), Sequoia Capital’s Jess Lee, Jared Leto, and Jack Conte of Patreon. (Update on October 13: Scooter Braun has joined as an investor.)
With the close of its seed round, Moment House is introducing its platform that lets artists create special digital experiences. To kick off the launch, the company is announcing Yungblud’s first digital world tour, coinciding with his sophomore album Weird!. The platform is also featuring “Moments” by Blackbear, Kaytranada, Kygo, Denzel Curry, Ruel, and others.
Moment House CEO Arjun Mehta said in an interview with VentureBeat that he learned the basics of starting a company at the University of Southern California’s Jimmy Iovine & Dr. Dre Academy, an interdisciplinary entrepreneur program. After graduating, he went to work with Shray Bansal and Nigel Egrari to build Moment House, with the goal of bringing people together through art and technology. The platform has been in development for the past year.
“It really came from this notion that ‘If I’m an artist or creative and I want to go live on the internet with a high-quality experience and I want to charge for it, how would I do it?'” Mehta said. “And there was no obvious answer to that question, which felt a bit absurd. It’s like a fundamental utility missing from the internet. There’s no simple and elegant way to do this.”
The company has handled dozens of Moments in the past few months as it worked to validate the platform. Big platforms like YouTube and Twitch tend to focus on free performances that are monetized through ads. But Moment House is targeting events that core fans will pay $10 or $15 for — elevated experiences that are less extensive than a formal concert.
With geofencing capabilities, low-latency streaming technology, ticketing security, merchandise integrations, and global payment support, Moment House aims to offer advanced infrastructure while remaining artist-friendly. Artists earn 100% of the ticket revenue, with Moment House collecting a small service fee from fans.
“With Moment house, every digital event is called a Moment. And really, it’s about how do we design this experience to feel very elegant, to feel exciting, to feel compelling?” Mehta said.
Livestreaming on platforms such as Twitch serves similar purposes, but the focus on gaming is very different, Mehta said. Twitch, for instance, isn’t really focused on selling tickets to an event.
“We’re laser-focused on the needs of an artist, and we’re not orienting it around free content,” Mehta said. “This is for an artist who already has an audience and you’re engaging the core fans with content.”
The company has a dozen employees.
“Our North Star is the fan experience,” Mehta said. “The focus of our company is on the great moments of great artists. If we really nailed this and fans feel like these moments are great, then we are hitting our goal. Our product roadmap goes beyond just the chat and the screen. There are so many more unique interactivity points during the moment, before, or after the moment.”
The pandemic has accelerated the company’s momentum for funding and signing up artists, but it isn’t the only enabler, Mehta said.