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Streaming platform Waitroom raises $3M

Mar 23, 2022
A hand holding cash coming out of a computer screen.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Waitroom, a streaming platform for host-led live broadcasts, has raised $3 million in seed funding, CEO Vinny Lingham tells Axios.

Why it matters: Investors still see potential in new products for live conversation, despite dominance by Zoom and Google and the current state of Clubhouse.

  • "Zoom or [Google Meet] became a de-facto product during Covid because that's all we had. With high intensity usage, we felt there was a better format that we could deliver," Lingham says of their reason to build in summer 2020.

Details: The round was led by Craft Ventures co-founder David Sacks with participation from Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel.

  • Founder Collecting managing partner and co-founder David Frankel, Floodgate co-founding partner Mike Maples, Jr., Social Leverage, Signia, Character, 20VC, Valor Equity Partners and Possible Ventures also participated.
  • Lingham previous startups include Yola, Gyft and Civic. He's also cofounder and general partner of Newtown Partners, a Cape Town-based seed investment fund
  • His Waitroom co-founders are chief designer Margaret Grobler and CTO Michael Gaylord. The company has 15 full-time and six part-time employees.

How it works: Waitroom allows hosts to hold livestreams and invite viewers to the virtual stage, one at a time. Think of office hours or a town hall. Hosts must use the desktop product, but it's available to participants on iOS and Android.

  • The product currently offers public broadcasts, but there are plans for private ones. Hosts can record the video, and clip and share to other platforms.
  • Waitroom includes abuse prevention tools such as a blocking feature, and Lingham says they incorporated video recognition software to curb inappropriate content.

What's next: The product is free. "If this format is appealing, we know there are ways to monetize it whether it's traditional credit card charges or an NFT model," Lingham says.

  • "We don't want to do with Clubhouse did. In fact, I want to do exactly the opposite," Lingham says. "Not to knock Clubhouse, but they grew too fast, and the quality of conversation dropped inversely proportionate to their growth."

Kerry Flynn co-authors the Axios Pro Media deals newsletter. Sign up now.

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