lively-logoIn a surprise move, Seattle music startup Lively has closed it doors, laying off most of its 22 employees.

“We just ran out of time,” said CEO Dean Graziano in an interview with GeekWire.

The company, which had raised more than $2 million in venture funding from Second Avenue Partners and others, could not find additional backers. It also struggled to ink deals with music labels, which controlled the music content that Lively was attempting to sell.

lively-app11Lively was developing a service for making audio and video content available to music fans shortly after concerts concluded.

“The music business, and it is no secret, no one is making any money,” he said. “It is tough to make money when you don’t own the content.”

The company was working on deals with Sony and Universal, but those were slow to develop.  

Staffers were notified last week, and a skeleton crew of execs remain at the company.

Lively still could continue if an investor stepped up, but Graziano said it has been a slog finding additional backers. It is also looking for potential buyers. For now, he said the company simply has “run out of runway.”

“The music space is definitely not for the faint of heart,” he said. 

The company operated from a 11,000 square foot office space in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, hosting concerts at what it dubbed The Lively Lounge. The company was recently featured as GeekWire’s App of the Week with Blair Hanley Frank calling it one of the best ways to pick up live performances. It also recently made some key hires — including director of venue relations Scott Kawa — making the news of the closure even more surprising.

“It is a really great idea, we just kind of ran out of time,” Graziano said. 

Previously on GeekWireFrom tennis coach to startup CEO: The wild entrepreneurial journey of Lively’s Dean Graziano

Comments

  • Herb Green

    Bummer. That was a cool app and a cool idea. The writing was on the wall, however, when the weed app Leafly beat out Lively for Geekwire’s App of the Year. The bud has spoken.

  • AngelaRGonzales

    Lively still could continue if an investor stepped up, but Graziano said it has been a slog finding additional backers. It is also looking for potential buyers. For now, he said the company simply has “run out of runway.” http://0rz.tw/9BIIY

  • Bob Z

    “11,000 sq’ place in SoDo”, “22 employees” and burned through $2 million in funding?! Sounds like another poorly managed startup – get some deals before you ramp your heads.

    BTW, that’s 500 sq’ of office space per person . . .gotta be kidding me!

    • http://twitter.com/chrisamccoy Chris McCoy

      How are the cheap seats, Bob Z?

      It’s that’s exact attitude that limits the sleeping giant of Seattle’s very wealthy capital base and Seattle’s world class talent base from joining the early stage innovation game en masse.

      Sadly, it’s been happening for years since the first mothership arrived.

      Remove the fear of failure and the stink of not hitting an innovation cycle and you’ll see 10x more money in region. It is the #1 deterrent.

      Good effort @Dean and co. Hope you’re able to land somewhere quickly. Reach out if you want to share some ideas.

      • Startup Guy

        Bob Z is right on. There’s no reason to get a space like that. Renton et al may not be very sexy but it is cheap. That much space in Pioneer Square must have cost a fortune… $2m or so I’d imagine.

        • balls187

          Are you really a startup guy? Why would you advocate operating in Renton. What type of talent pool are you going to attract there?

          I fucking live in Renton, and I’ve declined every opportunity to work here, because I’d much rather work in Seattle.

      • balls187

        Exactly. Fail fast.

  • Dave

    Music industry technology products are brutally hard. Getting deals with the labels takes years more time than most people think. It is too bad but the space is littered with companies that raised a few million bucks then cratered. Melodeo and tones leap to mind. It is too bad because I liked the concept and the Second Avenue guys are very good investors.

  • Kate Jiggins

    We reserved a date with them to host a party in October and paid a $2600 deposit on the space. We found out in July from a vendor that they’d shut down (not from Lively themselves) and are still waiting to get our deposit refunded. So yeah, I’d love to know where that $2mill went too.

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