Well, this is an interesting move. Fresh off of their acquisitions of BigChampagne and Setlist.fm, Live Nation Labs has now established the “LN Labs fund” to invest in promising startups in the live music tech space. They’re officially describing the fund as “a vehicle for strategic investment, partnership and mentoring of the world’s most innovative early stage technologies and entrepreneurs.”
Here’s a bit more on the fund from the official press release:
Focusing on equity participation in early stage start-ups in the areas of consumer product development and technology infrastructure, LN Labs Fund will be managed by Eric Garland, executive vice president and general manager of Live Nation Labs; Ethan Kaplan, vice president of products, Live Nation Labs; and Michael Abrams, president of Digital Ventures. Portfolio companies will be supported and mentored by the entire Live Nation Entertainment executive team. “It’s a renaissance for great product innovation,” said Kaplan. “Good work is falling off the trees. The challenge for these upstarts is finding their market fit. We bring that to the table. We insist on a very clear product market fit for everything we do.”
For a bit more info, I recommend reading the full scoop over on Venture Beat, which includes a closer look at one of their first projects, a mobile app called “Laminate,” which launched (as an alpha test) at SXSW this week to help fans traverse the massive amount of shows and events around the Austin, TX festival:
Live Nation is furtively field-testing a mobile application called Laminate with roughly 100 alpha testers at the SXSW music festival in Austin this week. The application, released little more than 12 hours ago, aims to help festival goers find the best stages and shows, tell them when to leave to get there in time, and instruct them on other practical matters. The app also provides users with a real-time, streaming experience for sharing photos as they capture them at live shows. But the boys are also anxious to tackle even bigger problems beyond their scope, and LN Labs will make as many deals as it takes to find the types of products and services that solve big challenges for concert fans, they said.
While live music-oriented startups have been able to secure funding from various VCs in the past, this announcement is pretty significant, as it’s the largest live music company in the world officially planting a flag on the techie side of the business and openly stating that they’ll be interested in buying/funding innovative startups in the space.