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For live events, in-person gatherings, concerts and more, the past year has left people unplugged from the outside world and plugged into their screens. But for many live event producers and businesses, the show must go on.
Enter EventFund, a startup that partners with event producers to provide capital and back-end office services such as streamlined accounting and bill pay so that creative promoters can focus on what matters most - producing great events. The partnership model lets producers retain equity and creative control while also limiting financial risks by working alongside an investment partner that focuses on “making the numbers work.”
“EventFund is about promoter-first values and creating a better ecosystem,” says Jon Haile, cofounder of EventFund and alum of the Iovine and Young Academy’s Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology (MSIDBT) program.
The inspiration for EventFund came as its team identified just how difficult it was to produce live events regularly and profitably. For behemoths like Golden Voice, Insomniac and AEG, funding and creative control are never an issue. But for smaller companies and those starting out, that gap between profit and possibility has been growing ever wider. It’s a problem Haile has been thinking about for years.
Co-founder and CEO Jon Haile
“I've always been fascinated by the relationship between art and commerce,” says Haile. “These disciplines are often thought to be in opposition, but the ability to create harmony and collaboration between ‘creatives’ and ‘suits’ is fundamental to the growth of any organization.”
Traditionally, event producers have gone one of three different routes to get their event up and running: bank loans, equity investments, and co-pros. Bank loans charge high interest, equity investments take creative control, and co-pros take a massive cut of the profits regardless of the outcome. In this day and age, none of those options seems ideal, and that’s exactly why EventFund has begun catching the eye of various parties across the events industry.
EventFund is different for all the right reasons. The startup focuses on making financial magic behind the scenes, keeping the creativity in the producer’s hands. EventFund’s selective partnership model also comes at a time when relationships and a personal touch couldn’t matter more.
“COVID created a real sense of urgency,” says Haile. “We are working to empower great promoters to get back on their feet and thrive post-pandemic.”
As EventFund continues to develop its model for both virtual experiences and in-person events, Haile’s team is optimistic about future partnerships. Haile himself yearns for a return to in-person style of work, but says he has been enjoying the chance this once-in-a-century pandemic has offered his team to digitally connect with potential partners and industry experts across the world.
Photo courtesy of Monica Murray
“As an extrovert experiencing interaction withdrawals due to WFH [work from home], it is really energizing to interact with such a diverse cross-section of the industry even if it is just over Zoom,” says Haile.
More shows. Less risk. Stay up-to-date on EventFund’s exciting future on their website.