A Q&A with Lively founder and CEO Dean Graziano. The Seattle-based startup, which offers an app that allows concert-goers to download recordings of the show right after it ends, announced last week that it has raised $2 million in new funding from investors that include Second Avenue Partners. The team previously raised more than $600,000 in Seed funding. It was founded in 2013.
SUB: Please describe Lively and your primary innovation.
Graziano: Lively is a Seattle-based music technology company that partners with artists to record and quickly deliver live shows to fans in high-quality audio and video. Content is purchased and downloaded in our Lively app minutes after the show ends so fans can put their phones down, be present in-the-moment and enjoy the live performance.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Graziano: We’re working with performers including artists, comedians and public speakers to showcase them on our app. Our audience is anyone and everyone who appreciates and supports the live performance. We’re connecting performers to their fans in a new way and providing consumers with an experience they can relive and share over-and-over again. We also work with venues to promote the use of Lively to their performers and customers.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates Lively from the competition?
Graziano: Because we’re working to change the way people experience the live performance, we’re competing with people who are attempting to record shows on their mobile or interacting with performances in a way that does not benefit the artist or the concert-goer.
What sets us apart is our primary focus—we put the performer first. We’re invested in their well-being and success. Lively is providing bands with a significant portion of the net profits from purchases through the app. This same scenario applies to any performer we’re working with—whether it’s a comedian, a poet, or a motivational speaker.
SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised $2 million in new funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise more funding?
Graziano: We couldn’t be happier about the current funding we just received. We will now be able to keep up with the demand we’re seeing right now from artists and fans, and to continue to expand our presence outside of Seattle. With respect to timing, there has never been more attention on the use of mobile phones at events, and how it is diminishing the experience of performers and attendees alike. Lively aims to provide a high-quality alternative that benefits all parties.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds?
Graziano: We’ll use the funds to continue innovation of our app and soon-to-come desktop player. Also, we’ll continue to bolster our sales and marketing efforts, as well as increase our performer and label relations.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Lively? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Graziano: I had a bit of an ‘aha’ moment. I was at the Deck The Hall Ball in Seattle and I saw all the mobile phones in the air. The light from the phones was distracting and I thought, “there’s got to be a better way to enjoy a show while also getting to relive my favorite moments.” It was there that the seeds of Lively were planted.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Graziano: I brought together the best-of-the-best in music, tech development and audio production to help my vision become a reality. After many coffee shop meetings, phone calls, and sketched drawings later, Lively grew from an idea to a startup. Now, a little over a year later, we have 25 full-time employees and have partnered with more than 150 performers in 40-plus venues across the country. The best part is, we’re just getting started.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Graziano: The name ‘Lively’ just came to me. It was an instant fit. It encompasses what we’re all about—our goal, our vision, our event space, and our people. Working with us you’re going to get an office full of lively people who are passionate about changing the live performance for the better.
SUB: Do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Graziano: One of the biggest challenges we’re starting to face and will continue to face is how to scale our company efficiently and effectively.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Graziano: Our revenue comes through numerous channels—set downloads and purchases on our app, renting out our event space, and brand sponsorships. We’re currently exploring additional revenue options which we’re hoping to capitalize on later this year.
SUB: What are your goals for Lively over the next year or so?
Graziano: Lively is here to help performers make incremental revenue and continue to connect with their fans while they’re on tour. Our goal is to continue making the live experience richer and more memorable for performers, fans and brands alike. As our mission statement states, Lively exists to bring artists and fans together by capturing the live performance and encouraging people to live in-the-moment.