It looks like Ticketmaster may have some competition on its hands.

Two Black founders, 21, dropped out of New York University (NYU) because they were confident in their ability to improve the event planning industry, which is expected to grow to more than $2 trillion by 2028, according to Statista.

As professionals themselves within the sector, Avante Price and Eli Taylor-Lemire are leading POSH and have a deep understanding of the challenges facing industry professionals.

Price was a DJ, starting at age five and has spun records for over 15 years.

Then there’s Taylor-Lemire, who runs a freelance photo-video agency that produces content for major fashion magazines as well as Sony and Roc Nation artists.

“After speaking with thousands of event industry professionals, we’ve learned that their stories are largely the same,” Price told AfroTech in an email interview. “They began as frequent attendees of events, became passionate about providing the same experiences they loved to their friends, started a brand, and scaled from there. POSH was born to democratize the ability for any fan with a passion for live events to get involved in the space with as little friction as possible. Simply put, our mission is to democratize the ability for anyone to earn capital through live experiences.”

POSH initially bolstered the duo’s efforts and allowed them to scale their events before COVID-19 hit. The formula seems to have worked. As a result, they examined the state of the event planning industry. They indicated POSH would be a valuable tool for event management solutions in the growing sector.

“We initially built POSH as an in-house tool that solved our primary needs for white-labeled event pages and more insight into customer data,” Taylor-Lemire explained. “Utilizing our own in-house tool for 2 events, we scaled from 200 attendees to 500 attendees per event — right before the pandemic. Given the state of the events space, we took the time to further understand the space and build out what’s now the Shopify for Events. We knew we were onto something and dropped out of NYU in 2020 to build POSH.”

Price told AfroTech, “The existing events industry is extremely monopolistic. Incumbent brands use a pay-to-play model to keep corporate event organizers exclusive to their products. They put their brand before their organizers’ and make it extremely difficult to manage and scale the communities that event organizers work so hard to build.”

He continued, “Other existing platforms have limited functionality, offer little or no marketing tools, and have weak financial infrastructure that require organizers to wait up to 2 weeks after their event to receive their capital. We built POSH to make it the best platform to find what to do as an attendee, make money as an affiliate, and manage an event as a host.”

The founders also pointed out that larger ticketing companies embrace a pay-to-play model, but they realize this does not give smaller or independent organizers an equal chance.

By using POSH, organizers can “manage the entire lifecycle of a live experience,” regardless of whether the event is tailored for a small private gathering or a large music festival.

Among the platform’s key features are white-labeled event pages, ticketing and RSVP tools, marketing tools (email, SMS, affiliate), instant payouts, dispute resolution, community management, and kickback offers for attendees to become paid affiliates, among others.

The tools will be free to use for event organizers. In exchange for each ticket purchased, the platform will receive compensation.

Following an initial splash in 2020, POSH officially launched today to the public. The startup received $5 million in a seed round co-led by Companyon Ventures and EPIC Ventures. Cameron Dallas, Day One Ventures, Pareto Holdings, Joshua Browder (DoNotPay founder), among others, also participated in the round.

“We are delighted with our recent investment in POSH, an innovative event management platform conceived and developed by event creators, for event creators,” Nick Efstratis, general partner at EPIC Ventures, said in a news release. “The founding team’s deep-rooted understanding of the industry’s challenges has enabled them to craft a solution that adeptly addresses the evolving needs of modern event organizers. With a focus on data-driven insights and exceptional user experience, POSH is set to transform the event management landscape. We are committed to supporting the founders’ vision and contributing to the growth of a platform that empowers event professionals to design unforgettable and impactful experiences.”

Furthermore, POSH has already grown to over half a million users and processed $30 million in tickets. The platform has also increased their number of live events by 50% and was used across six continents in the first quarter of 2023, which is a testament to the platform’s influence and future viability.