Check out the 12-page pitch deck that raised $5 million for a live events startup backed by Mark Cuban
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- Recess, an experiential marketing platform, just raised $5 million in Series A funding.
- It matches marketers like DoorDash and Milk Bar with events and venues such as WeWork, SoulCycle, and concerts.
- Backed by Mark Cuban, Recess is trying to grow the market by automating what’s traditionally been a manual process.
Recess, an experiential marketing platform, just raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Data Point Capital and Spring Mountain Capital, bringing its total fundraise to $11.5 million, the company said.
Founded in 2016, 20-person Recess is a self-service platform that matches marketers with in-person consumer events and venues such as WeWork, SoulCycle, Equinox, Spartan Race, music festivals, and college campuses. The company said it’s worked with such marketers as DoorDash, Milk Bar, Oakley, Mondelez, and Red Bull and represents venues reaching more than 235 million people in person.
Recess’ pitch is that it takes the time and hassle out of a cumbersome process of researching and coordinating events sponsorships. Events and venues can list themselves on its platform for free, and marketers enter parameters like date, event type, and reach. Recess then matches marketers with events and handles logistics like contracts, insurance verification, and pre-event coordination.
Recess also gives marketers basic access to its platform for free; it makes money by taking a percentage of the fees they pay the venue or event organizer.
Recess grew out of a media and events company, The Recess Music & Ideas Festival, started by Indiana University alums Jack Shannon and Deuce Thevenow. They made money from advertising they sold on music blogs as well as events sponsorships. Unlike digital advertising, they found events sponsorships a highly manual business.
“Experiential is the last ad platform that hasn’t been improved using data,” Shannon told Insider. “We became obsessed with this idea of organizing the experiential space.”
Shannon and Thevenow reached out to Cuban, a fellow Indiana alum, seeking connections to potential advertisers. To their surprise, Cuban responded with an offer to invest. “We shot him a blind email,” Shannon said. “We were just throwing events and hadn’t even thought about taking money into the business. It was pretty wild. It was like ‘Shark Tank’ over email.”
Recess originally focused on music events, but after the pandemic shut down in-person concerts, it branched out to other kinds of events and venues like drive-in movies, SoulCycle, and farmer’s markets, which have a high frequency of visitors and audiences that marketers want to reach.
After plunging 26% in the pandemic, global consumer experiential marketing grew 8% in 2021 to $68 billion and is pacing to grow 11% in 2022, according to an October report by PG Media. Shannon said he believes the market is even bigger than that when you take into account other spending like sampling and coupons, and has a lot of room to grow.
“A lot of brands, they’re trying to figure out how to make their traditional channels more efficient,” he said. “If it’s easier, more data driven, more measurable, more brands would invest in the space.”
Recess plans to use the new funding to expand its programmatic targeting capabilities and analytics offerings and grow its marketing, sales, and engineering teams.
Additional Series A participants included Ben Hindman, founder of events marketing company Splash, along with existing investors including Aperiam Ventures (formerly MathCapital), VC firm Animal Capital, and Marc Simon, cofounder of ad agency Giant Spoon. Others involved have included Mark Cuban, Recess’ first seed investor; and Bryan Goldberg, founder and CEO of Bustle Digital Group.
Check out Recess’ fundraising deck.
Recess, an event marketing startup, was founded in 2016 by two Indiana University alums.
Recess’ platform offers access to a wide array of events and venues.
Recess lets marketers connect to consumers at live events using sampling, sponsorships, and the like.
The company’s pitch is that it takes the hassle out of the sponsorship process.
Recess created a platform to match marketers and event organizers.
The company says it saves companies money by removing hours of manual work from the event marketing process.
The company touts the simplicity of offering transactions, data, and a nationwide marketplace on one platform.
Recess says the events and venues on its platform reach a combined 235 million+ people (some figures have been redacted).
Recess claims strong bookings growth.
The company projects big revenue increases this year.
Its investors include VC firms and entrepreneurs Mark Cuban and Bryan Goldberg.
Recess plans to use its new Series A funding to grow its audience to 1 billion by expanding both supply and demand.
This article was originally published on November 8 and has been updated.