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Virtual events: Investment, ticketing and tipping

US-based live streaming platform BoxCast has raised $20m in Series A funding.

The round, led by Updata Partners, with participation from audio equipment manufacturer Shure, will support the company’s growth over the next 12 months, with plans for it to more than double its workforce.

The company, which was founded in 2013, has created several different video encoder devices, with support for 1080p broadcasting, streaming to Facebook Live, YouTube and websites, as well as providing analytics and offering add-ons like automatic scoreboard displays and event ticketing.

BoxCast co-founder and chief executive Gordon Daily told TechCrunch that 2020 has been a “watershed moment” for the company. It has grown to the point of live streaming millions of events per year, from sports to religious services to virtual safaris offered by Sri Lanka’s tourism board.

He said: “When you can’t even meet in-person, we knew that there was going to be higher usage. What caught me off-guard was the volume increase. It’s new customers, it’s existing customers, at peak times there’s a 10x increase [from pre-pandemic usage].”

Updata’s Carter Griffin in a statement: “The live streaming video market has grown dramatically over the last decade, and COVID-19 has accelerated adoption in recent months. BoxCast offers a unique end-to-end platform that makes live streaming easy.

“We’re excited to partner with Gordon and his team, and look forward to contributing to their vision of making live events accessible to all.”


Song Machine Live, a livestream event from British virtual band Gorillaz, saw more than one million viewers in more than 120 countries tune in for the three different livestreams.

The virtual event series, which was hosted by LiveNow, featured a pioneering mix of animation and live performance, with band member Damon Albarn and his 14-piece band playing completely live from London for each of the three events to different time zones around the world.

LiveNow sold a variety of ticket packages for the event, including a Virtual Party Pack that included four livestream tickets and digital merchandise, and the Round The World ticket that gave access to all three performances.

“With live shows stopped, Gorillaz doing nothing was not an option,” said Niamh Byrne of Eleven Mgmt, managers of Gorillaz and producers of Song Machine Live. “

“Tough as it might be, we had to adapt. Nothing will replace a live show played to a great audience, but it was important to provide a platform for the artist to connect. So we embraced the limitations of what was possible and pushed to reimagine the concept of a livestream. In doing so, we realised there are no borders and everyone can watch as long as they’re connected. It’s truly inclusive and so, it won’t go away, it just opens up new possibilities.”


Sansar, the premiere virtual venue for live events, will premiere Artist Tipping, allowing fans to give performers cash tips from $.01-$50.

The platform claims to be the first virtual live event platform to offer such revenue generation to an artist, in addition to ticketing and virtual merchandise sales.

Sheri Bryant, president of Sansar, said: “Today, when musicians are amongst the hardest hit, Sansar is focused on ways artists can monetise their performances with touring and festivals just about completely shut down. We’re thrilled our incredible partner Lost Horizon is bringing such a diverse and stellar lineup to a vast, global audience who is eager to see and support artists in any way they can.”

The news comes as the firm launches its December slate of concerts with partner UK music festival Lost Horizon, premiering a diverse lineup of international artists.

Image: Sansar