A St. Petersburg-based entrepreneur is creating a platform that unites artists, venue owners and supporters to bolster the local music scene and mitigate booking challenges.
After spending years formulating a plan, enduring “con artist” developers and overcoming some personal challenges, Kate Rose eagerly anticipates launching Giggidy through app stores in the next six months. Helping her overcome those hurdles is Scott Kelly, CEO of Black Dog Venture Partners (BDVP).
Kelly recently acquired a 20% stake in Giggidy (Rose said she trademarked the moniker) and will serve as its interim CEO and board chairman. The terms of the deal remain undisclosed.
“I know without a doubt that it’s going to be a very much-needed platform, especially in the local communities,” Rose said. “I’ve been working on this for a long time, so it’s nice to see that the ball is finally moving on it.”
The idea for Giggidy came to Rose in late 2017 when she lived in Ft. Lauderdale and dated a local musician. She found it difficult to find concert information online, and when she did, it was typically limited to social media posts.
In addition to realizing the need for a platform dedicated to supporting local artists, Rose also noticed double bookings were a common occurrence.
Waiting hours after a show for payment was another frequent issue.
She called the booking process “archaic” and “chaotic” and began developing a business plan. However, Rose and her boyfriend split, and the project went on the back burner.
She also realized the need to make some personal changes.
“I decided to quit drinking and really took my health seriously,” Rose said. “Because I knew that this was going to be a good idea and that this would take off.”
Rose contracted foreign developers and expected Giggidy to launch back in December 2021. She said they took all her money without finishing the project.
Undeterred, Rose taught herself how to program and created “a beautiful prototype” that people could view online. A mutual connection in the St. Pete Girl Bosses group introduced her to Kelly, and she is already working with one of his developers to finish the platform.
“We both had a love of independent musicians,” Kelly said. “And we realize that most independent musicians are getting screwed by the venues and promoters. So, let’s figure out a way for them to make a living.”
Rose said Giggidy allows musicians and venue owners to cut out the middlemen. She compared it to a dating platform for the music industry.
Artists create a profile and bio, synch show dates to their calendar and upload pictures and music. They also list their desired pay range – and keep all profits.
Local music supporters can search for events by genre, date or venue. There is also a live streaming feature, and users can request songs and send tips.
While Kelly said the app is “more or less” complete, he said the new, St. Pete-based developer would likely tweak some functions. He said the platform would also offer marketing services, and the goal is to provide a holistic solution for independent artists.
He explained that the platform would allow musicians to do what they do best – perform and entertain.
“We don’t want to be a label,” Kelly said. “But we want to provide independent artists all the things that they would get from a label.”
Rose said the funding is going toward the two things she needs most, final development and marketing. She moved to the area two years ago and will focus on establishing Giggidy locally before expanding to South Florida and throughout the state.
Her ultimate goal is to create a national and international brand.
While Rose noted she needed a “drastic” change from Ft. Lauderdale, she said the region’s burgeoning tech and startup community led her to St. Pete. She believes in “divine timing” and is happy she followed her intuition.
“I just feel like St. Pete is such a perfect area to launch this platform,” Rose said. “I’m very grateful. There’s a lot of creativity; there’s a lot of artists – the energy here is just magnificent.”