Helsinki-based Mobile Backstage has secured a €1 million bridge financing round. Investors include Finverra, the Finnish government-backed investment company, as well as Miston Ltd., the management team, as well as a group of angel Investors. The investment round will allow the company to open an office in San Francisco, where they hope to better connect with U.S. investors and put a lot of effort into making partnerships with business partners and other startups.
The company creates virtual fan clubs designed to build a community and increase engagement between fans and artists. Early on the service was focused purely on mobile platforms, although it has shifted to also include Facebook and web platforms.
“Earlier it was very difficult to explain to anyone how bands and music companies should focus on their hardcore fans,” says Backman. “The main point back then was it would be great if a band had a huge amount of FB likes. Nowadays its totally different. One of the most important questions in the music industry at the moment is ‘what are the benefits of having 1 million Facebook likes, what can we do with it, and what can we do for the hardcore fans that spend the time and money.'”
With Mobile Backstage a band or their management can, for example, discover their 100 most active fans and invite them to release parties, send special offers, and so on. “It’s hugely valuable, but earlier it was hard to explain. Now it’s the mantra at every music conference.”
The company has created fan clubs for artists such as Jessie J., Tinie Tempah, The Kooks, Devlin, Lykke Li, to name but a few, and works on an on-going basis with the major record labels Universal, EMI, Warner, Sony as well as many independent labels and management companies.
Last year the company logged 93 million mobile pageviews from 30 bands. This year the company is shooting for 1 billion pageviews, and go from 100 000 registered users to 1 million.
“This means we have to reach a lot of fans very quickly,” says Backman. “To reach these goals we will hopefully announce new partnerships very soon. The world’s biggest fan-driven players are starting to contact us, and we are very focused on scalability and growth.”
For the future, Backman says, “We don’t want to be number two, we want to be number one. We have to take very big steps, but its great that our current investors believe we can be number one. That is why they have invested more, and why new investors have joined this cause. I’m so excited about the next steps we will take in the near future, and I hope we can announce some more news soon.”