Wave Raises $30 Million to Serve the Next Generation of Concert-Goers

Wave Raises $30 Million to Serve the Next Generation of Concert-Goers

Wave, an entertainment technology company that turns performers into digital avatars and puts them on virtual stages where they can entertain and interact with fans, announced a $30 million series B fundraise on Wednesday.

The L.A.-based company has now raised $40 million total.

Live performances typically comprise upwards of 70% of musicians' incomes. With in-person shows shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic, the music industry has been embracing new ways to generate revenue and drive fan engagement. Wave represents one such channel.

The fundraise was led by Seattle-based Maveron and SF-based Griffin Gaming Partners. L.A.-based Raised in Space also invested, as did several entrepreneurs, including Alex Rodriguez and Scooter Braun.

Braun, who manages megastars Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, likes how Wave CEO Adam Arrigo is bringing tech to the music industry.

"The future of the industry depends on it," Braun said in the funding announcement. "Adam and his team at Wave are bridging these two very important industries to create transformative experiences for the next generation of concert-goers, with a refreshingly artist-first approach."

Maveron general partner David Wu added: "We believe Wave is perfectly positioned to build the defining consumer brand at the intersection of music, gaming, and social interactivity."

"My cofounder (Aaron Lemke) and I started the company four years ago to help musicians make money," Arrigo told dot.LA. "We've been touring musicians and we know how hard it is."

Eventually they realized that Wave shouldn't simply try to recreate a real concert, but rather leverage the opportunities unique to the digital world.

"Our shows have rarely looked like normal concerts," Arrigo says. "Artists can be 1000x their size. Fans can be flying above the stage."

Wave has hosted more than 50 events for audiences of up to 400,000, for artists including John Legend, Imogen Heap and Tinashe. Fans can watch shows through VR headsets, via desktop, and on gaming devices.

Arrigo's career has centered on the intersection of music and gaming. He was formerly a game designer of the Rock Band video game franchise.

"From working on that game I learned that when you create new experiences you can create additional revenue streams for the industry," he says.

To that end, Arrigo doesn't imagine that Wave will replace in-person concerts; instead he hopes to complement them. He points out that although ticket prices for live shows have skyrocketed over the years, the scale of a virtual performance — where millions of people attend for free — can make it much more favorable for an artist than filling the 20,000 seats at the Staples Center.

The company's business model, Arrigo says, is based on in-app purchases, a percentage of which are shared with the performer.

"We give musicians a platform that allows them to reach fans in new ways," he says.

But Arrigo envisions growing beyond music.The platform's "new category" of performance combines elements of gaming, interactivity and social media. He thinks it can expand into theater, sports and stand-up comedy, among other events.

"We're really optimistic about the health of the business and people connecting virtually," he says.


Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


It started as a real estate company for startups. Today, Plug and Play operates what it calls an “innovation platform” that offers young companies office space, an accelerator program and — in some cases — invests in them.

On this episode of LA Venture, Plug and Play's CEO and founder Saeed Amidi talks about how he evolved the company into an accelerator and investment firm, and how he uses his platform to introduce many of the world’s largest corporations to startups that are re-envisioning their industries.

Read more Show less
Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Image courtesy of Bored Breakfast Club

While you can’t drink an NFT, that isn’t stopping some beverage startups from looking to capitalize on the blockchain-enabled craze.

Non-fungible tokens have gained traction in the art world, where artists and creators are using the digital assets to create closer connections with fans and collectors.

The idea of building a creative community around a product is not unfamiliar to beverage brands. After all, generations of beverage aficionados gave us the concepts of the bar, the tea house and the coffee joint.

As brands increasingly take to the digital world to increase their exposure, many beverage companies are now experimenting with NFT technology to build interest around their products. Budweiser, for instance, recently signed a deal to mint collectible tokens, as have Bacardi, Fountain Hard Seltzer and the Robert Mondavi Winery.

Read more Show less
Perrin Davidson
Perrin Davidson is the publisher of⁣ LAeats, an L.A.-based food community covering the food industry, food entertainment and food tech.