11 Jul IU Ventures makes ‘encore’ investment in Bloomington-based Stagetime
IU Ventures makes ‘encore’ investment in Bloomington-based Stagetime
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In the tradition of good performers deserving an encore, IU Ventures will re-invest in a fast-growing, Indiana University-affiliated venture that is helping performing artists advance their careers and expand their professional networks.
IU Ventures, IU’s early-stage venture and angel investment arm, will make a third investment in three years in Stagetime, an online talent-showcase platform headquartered in Bloomington that helps performers market themselves and find audition opportunities. Stagetime was founded by IU Jacobs School of Music alumna Jennie Moser, the company’s CEO.
IU Ventures will provide Stagetime with additional funding through the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, which supports high-potential, early-stage startups with strong IU connections. Its previous two investments in the company were made through the IU Angel Network, which connects new and emerging businesses with prospective investors among IU’s global community of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends. This included the IU Angel Network’s follow-on investment in Stagetime, which contributed to the company’s $1.5 million fundraising round, announced last fall.
“Our IU Angel Network has been able to support the growth of Stagetime during two prior funding rounds so we are grateful to be able to participate from the IU Philanthropic Fund side of the house during this capital raise,” said Jason Whitney, chief venture officer at IU Ventures and executive director of the IU Angel Network. “Jennie has proven to be a talented CEO and is leading a team dedicated to the continued success and growth of the Stagetime platform.”
Founded in October 2019 by Moser, who has a master’s degree in vocal performance from IU and is also a highly successful graphic designer, Stagetime was built as a custom solution for performing arts professionals and employers. Among the company’s unique offerings is allowing users to create customized online profiles that consolidate the various multimedia — including photo, audio and video files — that they can use to showcase and promote their work.
Moser and her team, which includes more than a dozen professionals with experience in product development, product delivery, marketing and customer success, hope that by allowing performing arts professionals — especially freelancers who may not have the benefit of a larger backing organization — to create a media-rich narrative, those professionals will be able to better connect and collaborate with talent managers and arts administrators. The Stagetime platform is also intended to provide a more affordable alternative to designing and maintaining a personal website, which may not be obtainable for new or emerging artists.
Stagetime is also helping the performing arts industry continue its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by enabling singers, directors, conductors, composers, agents and other industry professionals rebuild their networks and restart careers that were interrupted or otherwise impacted by the pandemic.
“When we have an obstacle to overcome or an opportunity to meet, Jason Whitney and the IU Ventures constituency are the first partners with whom I discuss ideas and solutions,” Moser said. “They have been thoughtful advocates for Stagetime since our earliest days and have been remarkably diligent in getting to know us over the years so that they could best support us. As we’ve seen our industry finally return to live performance with gusto this summer, this new investment from IU Ventures allows us to be proactive in supporting artists and creative professionals when they need it most.”
The newest investment from IU Ventures will help Stagetime in the company’s next phase of growth, one that will be defined by product refinement and more aggressive customer acquisition. In the coming months, Stagetime plans to launch features to help arts organizations — which often book performances years in advance — find top talent. One noteworthy example is a “casting tool,” which will allow users to plan for future talent needs efficiently.
A video spotlighting the mission and success of Stagetime is available on the IU Ventures website.
About IU Ventures:
IU Ventures invests in and supports IU-affiliated early-stage companies. Its investment programs include the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, IU Angel Network, Shoebox Fund and Innovate Indiana Fund. It further supports IU founders through the Executive in Residence Program and IU Founders and Funders Network. Student support is provided through a variety of engagements, including the new IU Venture Fellows Program. Each program takes unique approaches to accelerate and support the positive impacts that entrepreneurs affiliated with IU already achieve across the world. IU Ventures is a recognized leader in increasing opportunities for diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs and investing in Indiana startups with a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.