Venuetize invests $2.2M to upgrade mobile platform with contactless biometric technology
Tampa-based Venuetize will be spending its $2.2 million in new capital raised to upgrade its mobile platform with biometric facial recognition to deliver a touchless experience for participants and professional sports and live events, writes Catalyst.
The company’s venue mobile app has so far been used to make payments, get rewards, find parking, buy tickets and see videos and photos in a number of locations, including stadiums, arenas, hotels and casinos. In 2017, it was rolled out by Amalie Arena, home to the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
“In the world we’re living in now, with COVID-19, it’s all about the touchless journey,” Jon Romm, CEO and co-founder of Venuetize, told Catalyst. “How do we get people comfortable to get back outside, to start going to downtown district areas, to go to larger venues, hospitality, gaming locations, etc. It’s going to be all about biometrics, facial recognition, so that you’re not having to touch tickets and hand them to someone else. You can walk through the gate based on facial recognition. That facial recognition is tied to your loyalty platform, so we know who you are, we know where you are, we know what you tend to be interested in.”
The Venuetize app will speed up lines, ensure social distancing requirements are followed and that no cash payments are conducted, slowly paving the way to a touchless environment, according to the executive. Romm said he expects live events to restart in June, so venues need to be prepared by then. Due to COVID-19, Venuetize has reduced the number of employees and payrolls, and taken out a loan from the federal Payroll Protection Plan to fund its team.
According to an April 28 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the goal was to raise $2.8 million in capital.
“It’s not an easy time to raise money. We’re fortunate that we have an incredibly supportive shareholder base, and most of the money came from our shareholder base. We are starting to see a re-emergence of new money that’s coming back, that is recognizing that people are weathering this opportunity and will be positioned well for the future. They are starting to re-engage again,” Romm said.
“We maintained this round and still have some room in it, so I’m engaging with other people and we’ll see if we can close those people, but it was our current shareholder base that really drove the round and gave us opportunity to go after others as well.”