Storytelling platform PechaKucha is looking to introduce ticketing functions after raising $2.7m in seed funding.

The Tokyo- and Chicago-based operator intends to use the funds to scale headcount across product design, software development, and marketing to build new video and mobile capabilities. It will also extend social connectivity features including group chat, enhance event hosting functions including ticketing and CRM, and grow its community of content creators.

PechaKucha, which means “chit-chat” in Japanese, provides a Japanese-inspired virtual storytelling platform that allows users to produce and share recorded content, host live events online and offline, and build communities about popular and niche topics. It has been involved in events in more than 140 nations worldwide.

The funding round was led by Muneaki Masuda, the founder and chief executive of Culture Convenience Club Company, with participation from Lofty Ventures and Nameless Ventures and angel investors including GroupOn founder Brad Keywell and GoFundMe chairman Rob Solomon.

“Whether in person or online, people desire to connect with others in uplifting and inspiring ways,” said Sean Smyth, PechaKucha’s chief executive.

“PechaKucha provides meaningful sharing through real-world and digital talks, sessions and chats that leave people feeling motivated to do great things – for themselves and the world.

“Our social storytelling platform keeps engagement authentic, human, and concise – with time as our superpower.”

Founded in 2003, PechaKucha content creators licence PechaKucha’s “20 images x 20 seconds” platform to share visual stories, information and concepts for inspired action.

Coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, PechaKucha launched a virtual storytelling platform that grew to over 100,000 beta users within nine months.

“PechaKucha has built a deeply engaged community that has accelerated in growth since the pandemic,” said investor Paul Hsu, chief executive of Decasonic.

“PechaKucha’s social storytelling platform supports content creators who seek to build strong communities and share stories for inspired outcomes. I’m excited to partner with them to further transform how communities can connect with these positive intentions.”