Immersive music experience startup Stage11 has raised €5 million in seed funding, and is aiming to completely reimagine the entire music experience for the metaverse. With the new funding, the company plans to lure in strategic hires, establish further artist and brand partnerships, and continue to flesh out the technology platform.
Stage11’s funding round was led by Otium Capital, and also includes a healthy injection of capital from co-founder and CEO Jonathan Belolo. Now normally, I’d say, good luck kids in the ultra-competitive music scene, but let’s have a look at Belolo for a second.
With over 20 years of experience in the music industry, and as the current Director of Scorpio Music Belolo has a track record that looks like a recording industry dream - The Village People (Belolo's family created them and of which Scorpio Music owns the global franchise rights) to Mi Gente by J Balvin & (the queen herself) Beyonce, not too shabby no matter how you look at it. Needless to say, when Belolo comes a-knockin’ you best bet this van is a-rockin’.
Now that the proverbial bombs have been dropped, let’s get to the nitty-gritty: Stage11 is aiming to redefine the interactive music experience as we know it, namely by combining gaming, mixed reality, and digital collectibles (read: NFT).
Perhaps the better way to think of Stage11 is as a blank metaverse canvas for artists, allowing them to invite fans to live, play, and create inside their performances and musical worlds. Science fiction you say? Well, 18 months ago, this author might have agreed with you, but if the pandemic taught us nothing else, the future of digital is no longer the future, but rather, the rapidly approaching present. And if Stage11 has anything to say about it, if you want the metaverse experience with your favourite artist, you're going to be playing in the Stage11 sandbox.
Accessible via desktop and mobile, Stage11 will allow for immersive gameplay sequences, lifelike performances, cinematic narratives, and here’s where we see the attraction by the likes of Cozomo de' Medici, a.k.a. Snoop Dogg, NFTs. Fans can collect and use NFTs to create and share unique personalised content and even perform with their favourite artists. Looks like I’d better revisit the poetry that is Gin and Juice.
“As a gamer and sci-fi nerd, It feels like I’ve been dreaming about the metaverse my entire life. Now that as a society we’re on the cusp of making it real, I find myself blessed to be part of an incredible team setting out to explore the new frontier,” commented Belolo. “Building immersive music events and experiences is just the first step. We are on a journey together to reimagine the way artists and brands connect, even co-create, with their fans and audiences. We are combining genres, realities and cultures to build something bold, thrilling, and timeless — yet accessible and fun.”
In order to accomplish this seemingly herculean task, Belolo is joined by co-founders Jean-Philippe Braud, Gregory Dhonner, co-founder and director of business development for event agency Profirst, whose clients include Armani, Chanel, Kering, L’Oréal, LVMH, and Mani Nordine, the president of American Artists Company who represent just a few you might have heard of; Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Lady Gaga, Nicky Minaj, Pharrell Williams, et al.
Adding to the leveraging of the black books, on the tech end, Stage11 is supported by an A-list technology team, the likes of whom have worked on AAA games including Assassin’s Creed, Marvel Avengers, Star Wars: Battlefront, the animated film Happy Feet, and Facebook Oculus, Microsoft Kinect, Warner Music, Ferrari, Nike and Virgin.
"As entertainment, digital and gaming are part of our expertise, Stage 11 is an obvious choice for us. The founders of Stage 11 are recognized experts in their respective fields (Music, Fashion, Luxury, Lifestyle)," commented Otium Capital founder Pierre-Edouard Stérin. "This track record has enabled them to build a high-quality team between Europe and Silicon Valley in record time.”