Startup Exclusive – Side Door

07 Oct 2020

Presenting a startup exclusive on our friends, Side Door. We are happy to introduce a company that is striving to be innovators and supporters during these unprecedented times.

Driven from a passion for the arts, the founders of Side Door aim to build an efficient, friendly, and transparent marketplace where anybody can perform, host, or curate shows for their communities, and alternatively, where community members can come to bask in the beauty of art.

Side Door

Side Door is a platform matching performers with spaces to create shows anytime, anywhere, both online or in-person. Since the pandemic, Side Door has built a completely secure and unique ticketing portal for unprecedented online engagement via Zoom. Their philosophy is that absolutely anybody should be able to present arts and culture locally in their community in whatever space they have available. Online or in living rooms, back yards, bookstores, galleries, offices, community halls, you get the picture.

Side Door faces many competitors within the field, some of which include Veeps, Dice, Noonchorus, Sofar Sounds, StageIt, and Crowdcast. While competition is abundant, Side Door’s focus remains on community building and fostering high reward, high engagement events that generate evangelical users on all sides of their marketplace.

When the pandemic hit, the entire industry flung themselves toward one-way live-streaming with poor (or gimmicky) engagement. Side Door focused on hacking Zoom to foster previously unfounded levels of online interactivity and access to performers. Then they created a repeatable workflow to teach users to do the same within a secure ticketing portal for Zoom. Side Door is not a B2B for the music industry, they are instead an entertainment community marketplace.

There is additional competitive differentiation unique to Side Door in that they connect artists and presenters to collaborate shows, and they can host both Online or In-Person shows, as well as hybrid (Online + In-Person) shows.



Since their pivot to include online shows, ticket sales have increased +3000% and the ceiling has lifted as to what types of artists are interested in the platform. Side Door has run +400 shows via Zoom since the beginning of the pandemic (avg gross = +$1100) and has cracked the code to foster real, meaningful community building via online streams, as opposed to one-way traditional live-streaming broadcasts. The platform currently hosts 16k users and is continuing to grow every day.

Side Door’s platform provides advantages in that their advanced ticketing IP allows for revenue split at the point of sale. This allows presenters, venues, and artists to efficiently and effectively collaborate on shows with negotiable splits. Three main benefits of this system are that split payouts are automatic, taxes are sorted and PROs are paid out. It’s a marketplace for curators, artists, and audiences.

In pursuit of providing quality experiences for their clients, Side Door is currently adding in a more traditional broadcast lane to complement the existing interactive-show infrastructure. As well as a robust and social audience-side experience and industry tools like geo-gated tickets.

Side Door is uniquely positioned to capture incredible growth. Given the rise of the pandemic, a majority of existing traditional venues have taken a toll and many will not survive. This provides Side Door the opportunity to flood the market with thousands of new DIY hobbyist venues and usher in a new era of community-based in-person shows along with online and hybrid (in-person & online) shows.

Side Door’s biggest hurdle to overcome in the following year is ensuring that they can help artists and presenters put on great shows. Online shows require a very niche skillset and a great deal of preparation and tech troubleshooting. Side Door is handling this with a robust daisy-chained education process that keeps users from falling through the cracks. In addition, by building out the Service Provider side of Side Door, users can be matched with A/V techs from right within the platform to help run soundchecks, moderate/manage online shows or even provide on-site production services.


Laura Simpson, Co-Founder & CEO – Laura is equipped with 10 years as Artist Development/Funding Officer and has 7 years of experience as house concert host.

Dan Mangan, Co-Founder & VP Business Development – Dan is a 2x JUNO Award-winning songwriter & performing artist with 15 years of worldwide touring.

Side Door was built on the vision, passion and innovation of its founders to build a friendly and transparent global marketplace that fosters a thriving middle class of artistry. They strive to help artists make a living and showcase the beauty of local talent.



As they plan for further expansion, Side Door is currently in the process of raising an additional $600k USD on the same terms as their recently closed Seed round. Side Door plans to allocate the secured funding towards various developmental projects. Some of which include securing a “Broadcast” lane streaming engine behind a paywall, hiring a Product Manager equipped with experience in scaling the marketplace, expanding marketing capacities to capture artists sourcing solution for revenue and audience awareness, and many more.

Previously, Side Door had raised 2 rounds of pre-seed “Friends & Family” non-valuated at a total of ~$490k USD. Recently, they closed a Seed round that amassed $1.4m USD in funding but is planning to re-open the round to succeed a total of $2M USD following their rapid growth trajectory.

Side Door attributes their success to their amazing team of highly motivated and focused individuals comprised of dev (total of 5 + 1 design), user support, and recruitment. The only addition they plan to make to the team before Series A is the acquisition of a full-time Product Manager.


Revenue Model

Side Door’s main stream of revenue derives from two avenues, first of which is their existing revenue source acquired from the 10% cut of net ticket revenue (after CC processing and Performing Rights Org remittance). Lastly is their future revenue sources which consist of 1) pro user subscriptions, this includes extra features for audience/host profiles, or added VIP access for audiences, 2) data subscriptions, involving real-time ticketing metrics and trends for the entertainment industry, and 3) goods and services commissions, which are “check out” options for 3rd party Service Providers (A/V rentals, technicians, photographers, cleaners, etc.).



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