A new way to bring together the right bands with the right venues so no band has to play to an empty room ever again – that’s the simple but ingenious idea behind BandWagon.
Already highly praised by industry experts, this online platform effectively works as a speed-dating service for bands and promoters.
As former promoters and band managers themselves, founders Stan McLeod and Maria Haden have seen it all when it comes to the gig-booking process, with bands failing to turn up on time or bring the right equipment, unsigned artists unable to find live performance opportunities, and venues unable to find bands to play new nights.
This first-hand, and somewhat painful, experience of the frustrations artists and promoters suffer is what sparked the idea to create a simple website that allows bands to interact with promoters and venues, book gigs and build a live fan base.
Stan says: “We already have 6,000 artists and 600 promoters signed up across the world and have earned industry endorsement from the likes of NME and Music Biz Embassy. From the outset we said we wanted every band and every promoter to be on BandWagon – we aim to be the default platform globally and we are on the way to achieving that.”
In preparation for up-scaling the company, 28-year-old Stan applied to Transmit Start-Up Loans for £9,750 for technical and business development and marketing.
Stan adds: “This investment will get the company in a position to attract a major funder to help scale it up and take it to the next level.
“The loan process was very easy and quick. We’ve really appreciated the mentoring element and in fact the advice and support we have had has, in some ways, been more valuable than the actual money we’ve received because so many new doors have been opened to us.
“It’s great to be dealing with people who are so well connected and operate in the same networks that we need to access. The guys behind Transmit have real domain expertise and understand the music industry inside out so don’t just offer generic advice.”
Stan continues to work part-time in health service innovation for the NHS to help subsidise the rapid development of BandWagon and he uses the experience he has gained of working with users to mould new services invaluable for his own business.
He adds: “In large organisation customer feedback can’t always be responded to fully so I am particularly enjoying being the king pin decision-maker myself in my own business. I’m still working a couple of days a week in my job which means I’m not having to make any sacrifices with regard to the business because I’m not taking money out for myself yet. I will continue this way until the time is right and then I will take the leap and work for myself full-time. I can’t wait.”