Local startup launches video-commerce app, taps into local music scene

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Live streaming meets BigCartel? There’s an app for that. Launched today, Booster is the free mobile application that combines live video with e-commerce. For the first time, you can buy and sell merchandise inside of a live video environment, and it all began with a local internet startup based in the Charleston Digital Corridor.

"Many of our users will be bands and musicians who want to sell their merchandise or concert tickets before a show, so we're looking forward to becoming a part of the local music scene," says Booster CEO Michael Stevens. "We employ a number of CofC grads who are already speaking with many local artists and musicians."

Stevens calls the app QVC for mobiles and says the company got off the ground with the help of the SC Launch program and seed funding from various angel groups.

Booster works much like other streaming applications — you can see when someone you follow is live, check how many people are watching the stream, send comments, and share the broadcast via social media — but you can also swipe to the right to see the streamer’s store and directly make a purchase on the app.

Though not its original intent, the budding Booster app has a promising future in the local music scene, enabling artists to monetize their existing content. The slick, simple interface features an affiliate function that allows a streamer to upload inventory to their profile or allow someone to sell products on their behalf. “We see a lot of ticket sales and merchandise, like albums and vinyls, being sold through the platform,” says Stevens.

Booster team member Patrick Cornely, who targets the music scene says the focus is mostly local right now. “We’re just trying to help them get to that next step in their careers as artists,” he says. “We have a lot of really great local bands that are signed up to work with us.”

The vision doesn’t end with music. Booster hopes to work with local artists to sell their artwork, and boutiques can monetize their existing inventory by live streaming pop up events. The app’s model is simple: it’s free for everyone to use, and Booster takes 5 percent from every transaction. Another plus? Booster promises to never have ads.

Booster is available on iOS, and an Android version will be released later on this summer.

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