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Twitter Invests in VenueNext, Which Builds Apps for Arenas and Stadiums

Can you tweet me a beer, please?

Kurt Wagner/ Re/code

Hey, can you tweet me some nachos?

This may someday be a legitimate request for stadium-goers given Twitter’s latest investment, VenueNext. The startup behind the San Francisco 49ers’ in-stadium app has raised $9 million in new venture funding from a handful of investors including Twitter’s investment arm, Twitter Ventures.

The round was led by Causeway Media Partners and included other investors like Aruba Networks and Live Nation Entertainment, which promotes thousands of concerts and music festivals per year. The deal is Twitter’s third public investment.

The money comes just six months after VenueNext’s first full season operating at the 49ers’ tech-friendly new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The app was designed to bring all the different experiences fans have at the stadium into one place — things like ordering food, scanning a ticket or watching replays.

Twitter’s investment is a strategic one, and yet another sign that the company is increasingly interested in live events like NFL games and Katy Perry concerts (or both, if you were at last year’s Super Bowl).

Twitter has always cared about getting people to tweet during these events, from their couches at home but also from the stadiums and arenas. It’s even building a new product to curate specific timelines around these events to make them easier to follow on the service.


The investment in VenueNext seems to imply Twitter may want to get involved with other aspects of live events, too, like ticket sales or concessions or merchandise. Imagine getting an exclusive offer on Twitter for a T-shirt, which is then delivered to your seat. Or tweeting somebody a beer at an NFL game. Twitter is starting to expand its commerce offerings beyond the occasional “buy” button that appears in your feed, and this is another way it might do that.

The two companies aren’t integrating from a product standpoint right now, said VenueNext COO John Paul. But you can see the possibilities. These are just ideas for now, but don’t be surprised if Twitter shows up in places besides the Jumbotron in the near future.

Last September, Paul told Re/code that the company was in talks with more than 15 other venues interested to see how the app would work out for the Niners. Paul now says he expects VenueNext to be in 30 venues by the end of the year. He wouldn’t get into details, but it seems like a safe bet that at least some of those new partners will be owned or operated by Live Nation.

They won’t all be music or sports venues, though. Paul mentioned hotels as a possibility, and VenueNext also published an app in Apple’s App Store called Express Order that was used in parts of Disney World.

“The most important thing [moving forward] is that we’re going beyond sports,” Paul told Re/code. “A venue is a piece of property. However we can make it a more convenient place, that’s what we want to do.”

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