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Streaming platform Waitroom raises $3M

Kerry Flynn
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."

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