San Francisco-based virtual concert start-up Flymachine has secured $21m in new funding to help expand its network of venue partners and develop new features.

The firm, which offers immersive social experience, has been backed by angel investors and big names in the music-industry like Red Light Management founder Coran Capshaw, manager and promoter Bill Silva, as well as concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment and Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, among others.

The round was led by Greycroft Partners and SignalFire, with additional participation from Primary Venture Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Red Sea Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Flymachine, which has been established by co-founder of Ticketfly and TicketWeb Andrew Dreskin, plans to use the investment to grow its team, expand its network of venue partners, and develop new features for its digital events platform.

The company’s strategy focuses on working with concert venues around the US, such as Bowery Ballroom in New York City, Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco, and The Crocodile in Seattle, to livestream shows at those venues to at-home audiences.

The start-up, which launched publicly in spring 2021, allows participants to virtually move through various spaces, utilise proximity-based video chat to see and speak to each other, and experience chance encounters during an event, similar to an in-venue experience.

Artists using the platform will be able to use visual effects to design unique online experiences, receive feedback in real-time, and interact with fans.

Dreskin said: “Virtual events have an opportunity to change the game for artists, promoters, and fans, but the technology that exists today is pretty underwhelming — videobox, paywall, and a bunch of scrolling nonsense; not exactly what one would call game-changing.

“At Flymachine, we’re creating something different: a digital venue of the future, an art medium, and a social meeting place. It offers a level of depth, agency and social interactivity that hadn’t before existed. It’s a pretty cool way to check out a show remotely.”

The venture has also been co-founded by Rick Farman, a culture sculptor at Superfly who co-founded Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Matthew Davis, the music technology trailblazer and founder of [namethemachine], and ATC Management an innovator in the artist management space for over two decades, representing a roster of over 500 artists, including Nick Cave and PJ Harvey.

Image: Flymachine