Renaissance raises $1 million CAD in fresh funding to help artists connect with their superfans

Music tech startup claims to have surpassed one million downloads with zero marketing spend.

Vancouver-based Renaissance has revealed $1-million CAD in fresh funding as the startup looks to organic growth for its superfan app in 2024.

The funding led by Blockchain Founders Fund was closed over the summer, according to Renaissance CEO and co-founder Arpan Deol, and comes as an extension to the company’s 2021 $1.3-million CAD pre-seed round, which was led by Panache Ventures. 

“They’re building a product that all artists will use one day to build stronger connections with their audiences.” 

Patrick Lor

Both rounds also saw participation from a number of small funds and angel investors that Deol declined to disclose to BetaKit. To date, the startup has raised $2.3 million CAD. 

Renaissance offers a social app tailored for music enthusiasts that integrates with streaming services like Spotify to provide real-time, shareable summaries of user listening habits.

The app features a points system and weekly giveaways, which offer items ranging from standard merchandise to grand prizes, such as flights and event tickets. The startup’s app also offers streaming parties, which allow fans to engage asynchronously around music, complete with goals, leaderboards, and a chat function, adding a gamified and social dimension to the streaming experience.

Renaissance was founded by Deol, COO Devon Ulrich, and advisor Kiki Jaspal. Ulrich and Deol both previously worked at another Vancouver-based music tech startup, ​Beatdapp, which analyzes listeners’ cross-platform streaming activity to detect streaming fraud.

During their time in the music tech space, Ulrich and Deol observed certain trends in streaming activity, leading them to wonder whether they indicated streaming fraud or simply identified “superfans” who devoted extensive daily listening time to specific artists. 

The discovery of the superfan market—which Goldman Sach’s estimates will generate over $4 billion in incremental revenue for artists by 2030—motivated Deol and his co-founders to begin building Renaissance in 2020.

The Renaissance app launched publicly in early 2021 and quickly went “viral,” according to Deol, who claimed the app has since amassed over one million installations and tracks over 150 million streams monthly. Deol said a number of notable artists have also made use of the platform’s streaming parties function, such as Alicia Keys, DJ Khaled, and J Balvin.

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Patrick Lor, managing partner at Panache Ventures, said in a statement that he has observed the Renaissance team use their knowledge of music distribution to help artists connect with the top one percent of their fanbase. “They’re building a product that all artists will use one day to build stronger connections with their audiences,” he added.

With its most recent funding closed this year, Deol said Renaissance is now looking to launch new artist tools to bring superfans closer to artists. The startup will be launching a dashboard for artists in January, which will allow artists to understand exactly who their superfans are and then offer them exclusive items.

Notably, Renaissance claims it has managed to grow with “zero marketing spend.” Deol explained this is because the startup has chosen to work with social media fan pages as the platform’s brand ambassadors. He noted this feedback loop is what led to the creation of its “streaming party” feature.

“We built a lot of features around those fan pages and the feedback from them, and that’s built this organic flywheel into the platform for us since launch,” Deol added. For the time being, Renaissance plans to continue using this fan page strategy to drive growth.

“I think there’s a huge untapped superfan market right now that we can focus on through organic or product-led growth before we actually need to pull some performance marketing levers,” Deol added.

Feature image source Renaissance.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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