Founded by Corey Schwitz and Stephen Santore, who first worked together at the advertising agency SpotCo, the new company is currently seeking investors for the national tour of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which launches this fall.
“For someone making $200,000 a year, investing $25,000--the typical minimum for a musical--is far too much to put at stake,” co-founder Santore stated. “Letting someone get in on the action for just $2,500 or $5,000 makes a potential loss much easier to bear, while still getting involved in the excitement of launching a musical or play.”
To date, more than 500 potential investors have signed up via the Standing Room Capital website. In addition to possible financial returns, perks also include free tickets and party passes, among others.
This new investment platform is made possible by The JOBS Act, which was signed into law in 2012 and allows certain offerings to be solicited to the general public. Currently, investments through Standing Room are only open to accredited investors, defined as "individuals who make an annual income of $200,000 or more, $300,000 combined with a spouse, or alternatively have a net worth of over $1 million."
“Investing in theater is risky, and one of our goals is to sufficiently educate our investors of that,” co-founder Schwitz said in a statement. “If you fully understand the risk and you love Broadway, it can be a fun and engaging process.…Partnering with WealthForge gives our investors the assurance that offerings on our platform are independently vetted, combined with our own evaluation of a show’s producing team and financials." “Our focus has primarily been processing private investments in the real estate, energy, and financial services sectors,” added Arthur Weissman, Head of Sales and Marketing at WealthForge. “When the Standing Room Capital team approached us about working together to use this same model to raise money for theatrical investments, we knew it was the perfect opportunity to work with a strong partner in the entertainment space that shares our commitment to compliance and transparency."
The Broadway League recently reported a record-breaking 2014-15 season for Broadway, with over $1.3 billion in gross sales and more than 13.1 million audience members.