For photographers, filmmakers and musicians, finding eye-catching venue spaces might be essential to the success of their final product. While home sharing sites like Airbnb can provide visibility into cool spaces around town, due to regulations, you can’t actually create and distribute content in the space if you book through those sites.
Musician and entrepreneur Jon Howard kept running into a challenges finding out-of-the-box spaces to create his content and help fellow musicians throw album launch parties.
“There wasn’t an ecosystem that facilitated these things for content creators. We wanted to solve the problem we had specifically around spaces and make cool living rooms, basement venues, and studios easily accessible and bookable by the hour,” says Howard.
In 2016, Howard assembled a team of touring musicians whose skills ranged from engineering to UX and marketing to found Avvay, a booking venue platform for creatives.
The platform allows owners of unique venues — from lofts to farmhouses and warehouses — to list their space for creatives to book by the hour for events like photo shoots, launch parties and music videos.
“Our best hosts currently are on the Airbnb platform and [by listing their space with us too] we help them monetize the time in between their overnight reservations,” says Howard. “We also bring venues and recording studios more business by the hour.”
The team released their beta in 2016 and completed the Techstars Boulder accelerator program this past January. They successfully populated their venue database with more than 500 locations in five markets — Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and Portland — with almost no marketing.
“Our most popular spaces range from empty warehouses to cool living rooms to mid-century modern bungalows — really visually-appealing unique spaces that were previously hard to get or find,” says Howard. “Unless you had a location scout or you were knocking on doors and just asking people, there wasn’t a centralized way to find them before.”
Avvay takes 15 percent of the total booking, but there’s no upfront cost to the venue owner to list. “We win if they win,” says Howard.
Up next, the team just closed a $1 million seed round, led by Zero G Capital, based in Denver, with participation from Matchstick Ventures, SpringTime Ventures and Service Provider Capital, among others, to ramp up their sales and and marketing strategy, onboard more venues and expand the platform’s features. Howard shares that while their primary focus since Avvay’s inception has been providing access to venues, they’re also exploring additional ways to ease pain points for the content creators.
“Location is definitely a big part of that, but there are some other challenges that we know very well, and we’re excited to tackle them in this next stage.”
This piece has been updated to reflect more details of their recently closed seed round, as of September 12.