Two-man startup Gigfairy secures US$28K pre-seed funding
By A. Asohan February 13, 2015
- Community marketplace matches musicians to gigs and promoters
- Not just professionals, but also helping others make some money doing what they love
GIGFAIRY, which operates a community marketplace that matches musicians with (what else?) gigs and promoters, said it has secured RM100,000 (approximately US$28,000) in pre-seed funding in a round led by Endeavor Capitals, an investment company based in Kuala Lumpur.
Gigfairy was a winner in Batch 4 of the 1337 Accelerator programme, operated by 1337 Ventures, which took place in January. For that feat, it received an RM10,000 (US$3,000) injection and mentorship from 1337 Ventures.
Cofounder Brian Foo told Digital News Asia (DNA) he could not disclose how much of a stake 1337 Ventures got in return, but added that there is the potential for follow-on funding.
Gigfairy, describing itself as the ‘Airbnb for live music,’ is a platform designed to help users book live music more easily easier, while creating more gig opportunities for musicians.
“Whether you are looking for the best ensemble for your wedding, a restaurant manager who wants special entertainment for your customers, or you are just a student in need of a DJ to party with your friends, with Gigfairy you can browse and discover local artistes, easily book your favourite one, and most importantly, pay safely through our secure payments system,” the company says.
“Here's the other thing though, we aren't just here to help the musicians who are doing it for a living,” said Foo. “We’re here to help those who aren’t, to start making some money on the side doing what they love.”
“Currently, the service is free to use but when we start charging it will be 15% of whatever the artistes decide their fee is,” he added.
At the moment, Gigfairy is only available in Malaysia. “We are looking at Singapore as the first market to expand into, possibly over the next few months,” he added.
“We are already actively looking to strike up key partnerships to bring us there,” he told DNA via email.
The pre-seed fund will be spent on product development and user acquisition.
“I built the current site with almost no coding knowledge, so I would say the website is far from what we need it to be,” said Foo, a former sales executive and a drummer himself.
“We need automation, and lots of it. We're building a dashboard so artists and promoters can manage their bookings on the site itself.
“We will [also] be doing a lot of online marketing (Google and Facebook advertisements), and we have some fun stuff planned for our offline marketing. I can't say too much yet, but it won't take too long before we launch our offline campaign,” he added.
Foo left the sales industry to cofound a startup that built an iOS app that connects people of the same nationalities in different countries. After spending three years there, he decided to combine his passion for startups and his love for music to create Gigfairy.
His partner and cofounder is Fabio Miceli, whose experience was in digital marketing and is now the chief executive officer of Socially, a social media agency based in Kuala Lumpur. He is also a music producer and sound engineer … and a drummer too.
Gigfairy is just the two of them currently. “Fabio's the marketer and I'm in charge of business development/ hustling,” said Foo.
“We are actively looking for a tech partner to come on board, but we want to make sure [he or she] is the right fit,” he added.
1337 Ventures chief executive officer Bikesh Lakhmichand (pic) described Gigfairy as the “judges’ favourite” at the recent 1337 Accelerator programme.
“We loved the team – we’ve always picked investments based on the people, and Brian [Foo] and Fabio [Miceli] have the chops to pull Gigfairy off,” he added.
Bikesh compared Gigfairy to another startup that 1337 Ventures has a relationship with, MaidEasy, which went through its Alpha Startups pre-accelerator programme.
The Kuala Lumpur-based startup, officially founded only last December, secured RM100,000 in angel investment.
Its cofounder and chief technology officer is Azrul Rahim, a DNA Digerati50 and co-creator of JomSocial, a Joomla-based social networking solution. He is also a partner with 8Capita Venture Capital and entrepreneur-in-residence for Intres Capital Partners.
“From an investment perspective, [Gigfairy] is a similar concept to Maid Easy, which is possible to replicate across the South-East Asian market,” said Bikesh, himself a DNA Digerati50.
When asked what its challenge would be moving forward, he said it would be in satisfying everyone’s thirst for music. He noted that there are many old-school bands that Malaysians pub-crawl to listen to, bands which had to rely on word-of-mouth and middlemen to book gigs.
“But imagine now being be able to throw a birthday bash and have a band like [indie electro-pop band] Paperplane Pursuit perform – or imagine those traditional GLC (government-linked company) gala dinners spiced up with the latest indie bands doing renditions of classic P. Ramlee songs, rather than that guy with the saxophone they know who plays every year,” he enthused.
Bikesh also believes that with the funds it has just received, Gigfairy will be able to put together a tech team and build a platform beyond just booking.
“It can become more of a supportive element for musicians to use as a tool to manage their portfolio, and possibly manage the day-to-day business of schedules and even invoicing,” he ventured.
“With countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia rich in the entertainment scene, I foresee a niche SME (small and medium enterprise) tool that Gigfairy could possibly evolve into. I don’t see bands using Microsoft CRM or Salesforce.com for their needs,” he said.
Horse and carriage
But going back to its current form, what's the addressable market like in Malaysia for Gigfairy? How many artistes and musicians do this for a living?
“We like using the wedding market as an example because of the number of times I’ve been asked ‘Hey, do you know any wedding bands?’ in the past,” said Foo.
“There were 1.5 million marriages in Malaysia from 2008-2012. That makes 375,000 marriages a year. That's a huge market, even if only 1% to 2% of those people are booking bands for their weddings,” he added.
Will Gigfairy be reaching out to work with any artiste or music associations or organisations?
“Yes, I have reached out to a couple of music schools. I believe our platform is an opportunity for their students who are ready to go out and get some real life experience by gigging,” said Foo.
“The response has been good so far. For example, Goldsounds Music Academy is providing us with 10 to 15 of their top talents.
“I think it’s an arrangement that keeps everybody happy,” he added.
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