You want to show your loyalty to your favorite artists but you don’t want to overpay or have to wait. You want authentic merchandise and you want it now! Well now you can with Sidestep. The new app that allows for on demand delivery of your hand selected merchandise right to your door. Teaming up with professionals, Sidestep has created a name for themselves in a pretty huge market.
Today, Eric Jones, the founder of the Sidestep tells us about his company and how we can get that much closer to experiencing true fanhood.
Tell us about the product or service.
Sidestep is a mobile first company that lets fans pre-order live event merchandise for VIP pickup and on-demand delivery. We partner directly with artists, entertainers, and influencers to offer a new mobile experience for fans while providing incremental revenue and the ability to know who is buying what at their events. In addition to this mobile experience for fans, Sidestep has an affiliate revenue program that is bringing merchandise to the forefront of the live events and unlocking untapped revenue; fans can now purchase their live event merchandise while buying concert tickets, streaming their favorite song, participating in a fan community, and more.
How is it different?
Sidestep has remained laser focused on building out our live event merchandise platform. This provides artists and influencers with their own mobile experience for fans, an ability to upload products and sell in seconds, and a bridge to connect their live event merchandise across multiple platforms to further capture fans at the peak of their excitement. Sidestep is the full-service solution that is building our technology to increase sales, collect key data on demand for more cost-effective decisions, and provide our partners with a deeper understanding of their fan demographic and purchasing behavior.
Our team is also comprised of former signed artists, merchandise managers, and individuals with direct experience with live events. The sum total of our knowledge, years of experience, and extensive network has given us an opportunity to address the needs of our artists and better serve our users in a more meaningful way.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Sidestep tested and proved concept in the music space, which is a $2B market. As we continue to grow in the music space, we continue to build out the platform with the knowledge that there are a variety of verticals out there that Sidestep can attack – some of which we already are. This includes sports, comedy, broadway, VIP experiences at live events, and more.
The core functionality of Sidestep is a way for fans to have on-demand concierge for goods and services for pickup or delivery. This concept provides Sidestep with the flexibility to attack many different markets and opportunities.
What is the business model?
Sidestep charges a convenience fee to the fan that pre-orders their live event merchandise so they have the ability to skip the line and have peace of mind knowing their merchandise is waiting for them to be picked up or shipped to their doorstep. Sidestep also generates revenue through our growing affiliate sales channel program.
Sidestep is an artist friendly company. We offer our technology 100% free for them to use so they can better engage, monetize, and connect with their fans in meaningful ways. With that said, there are other revenue streams we are cultivating today. Some include: brand sponsorship opportunities, enhanced delivery features, and monetizing our unique database that pinpoints demographic and psychographic information so artists can make smarter manufacturing decisions and enhanced re-targeting campaigns.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our primary focus is to have over 100 artists, influencers, and entertainers actively on the platform over the next 6 months. We are also securing key strategic partnerships with a handful of the major ticketing companies that will unlock immediate value to our partners and us. Sidestep also plans on expanding our newest partnership with Top Fan (a leading fan engagement company that has over 400 influencers on the platform). Beyond on-boarding artists and building out these strategic partnerships, Sidestep plans on hiring a few more employees to the team, securing additional funding for growth, and exploring global market opportunities.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
Andy Weissman of Union Square Ventures. I would love to be put in touch with Andy because he seems to really understand live events and passionate about music. I’ve read many of his blog posts and listened to a few podcasts he’s done and it seems like he has a great understanding of finding solutions for markets built on archaic systems such as music and live events.
Why did you launch in New York?
After touring for nearly 5 years across the country and seeing many incredible cities, I knew that NYC was for me. At 21 years old I moved to the city and started my professional career. Along the way, I fell in love with technology and decided there’s no better place and time to start a company. I think there is something about the consistent energy, passion, and work ethic of the city that will inspire you to build something.
Where is your favorite place to visit in the area in the fall?
This summer I spent time riding a CitiBike down the West Side Highway in Manhattan. It is one of the most relaxing experiences you can have in the city. I’m still enjoying it this summer but can’t wait until Fall.