Announcing Techstars Music 2017: This One Goes To 11

Last October, I announced the creation of Techstars Music, a new startup accelerator program created to invest in the broad ecosystem of music.

We brought together major record labels (Warner Music Group and Sony Music), global artist management and live event companies (Q Prime Management, Silva Artist Management, Young Guru’s Era of the Engineer, Bill Silva Entertainment), independent game studios (Harmonix Music Systems), and the manufacturer of the leading whole-home audio system (Sonos) to provide capital, mentorship, business development and licensing opportunities to the best music startups on the planet.

To complete the circle, we will also have an Artist In Residence program bringing in world class artists to work directly with our Founders in order to provide the unique perspective that only artists can give.  We are honored to have Bob Moses and D∆WN aka Dawn Richard joining us for the program.

Today, I am happy to announce we’ve made our selections and invested in our first class of startups; Amper, Hurdl, JAAK, Pacemaker, Pippa, Popgun, Robin, Shimmur, Superpowered, SyncSpot, and Weav. That is not, as you might notice, the typical class of 10 startups. These go to 11.

Many thanks to our member companies — along with our investor friends at Techstars Ventures, Backstage Capital, Foundry Group and Union Square Ventures — for helping us find such an elite group of founders.

What do I mean by elite? They’ve managed superstar artists and social media influencers, been named to Forbes 30 under 30 lists, won Apple Design awards, created a global community of more than ten thousand professional DJs, sold a previous company (We Are Hunted) to Twitter, run a child-health organization, managed content for TED, authored New York Times best-selling books, created music and sound design for major film, TV and videogames… even co-created Google Maps. I’m half-amazed they let me hang around with them at all.

We genuinely believe these are the most promising startups in music. We can’t wait to see what they can do now that we have them all in one art-filled and sun-drenched room here in LA, where they will work with hundreds of independent mentors from all facets of the music business and technology, as well as our two artists-in-residence, Bob Moses and D∆WN.

Time to make some noise… 😉

If you’re interested in learning more about Techstars Music, please email us at music at techstars dot com.

Ladies and gentlemen… the Inaugural Class of Techstars Music, 2017:

Amper New York City, NY

Amper is an artificial intelligence composer, performer, and producer that empowers you to instantly create and customize original music for your content.

Founders: Drew Silverstein (CEO), Sam Estes (Founder), Michael Hobe (Founder)

Hurdl Nashville, TN

Hurdl increases fan engagement and revenue at live events with a unique LED wearable that allows artists, teams and event planners a new 1:1 communication network with both the known and unknown ticket holder.

Founders: Betsy McHugh (CEO), Zach Shunk (CTO)

JAAK London, United Kingdom

JAAK uses blockchain tech to connect music, metadata and rights information. Our goal is to create a real-time metadata network and a standardized framework for low-cost licensing.

Founders: Vaughn McKenzie (CEO), Fred Tibbles (Chief Developer), Viktor Tron (Architect)

Pacemaker Stockholm, Sweden

Pacemaker provides a simple and portable mixtape creation and social consumption experience on top of streamed music, powered by the proprietary file format the Recipe and AI DJ technology.

Founders: Jonas Norberg (CEO), Daniel Wallner (CTO), Olof Berglof (CMO)

Pippa New York City, NY

Pippa makes podcasting simpler, smarter, and more profitable by enabling targeted ads to be delivered dynamically to listeners.

Founders: Simon Marcus (CEO), Erwan Jegouzo (CTO)

Popgun Brisbane, Australia

Popgun is using deep learning to make original pop music. Today we are teaching computers to sing. Tomorrow we plan to produce a top 40 hit record. Popgun aims to be the best music AI company in the world.

Founders: Stephen Phillips (CEO), Adam Hibble (CTO)

Robin Toronto, Canada

Robin is a personal concierge for concerts and live events. Robin reserves and secures tickets on behalf of fans while providing real-time demand data to artists and event organizers.

Founders: Adam McIsaac (CEO), Cam Gorrie (CTO), Dave Levin (COO)

Shimmur Los Angeles, CA & New York City, NY

Shimmur is a social platform that makes it easy for artists and influencers to have quality interactions with fans. Shimmur flips how social apps usually work; on Shimmur, tribes of fans work together to create content and artists and influencers react and comment.

Founders: Matthew Peltier (CEO), Charlie Buffin (COO), Max Levine (CSO)

Superpowered Austin, TX & Budapest, Hungary

Superpowered provides real-time, low-latency audio infrastructure for games, VR, music and interactive audio applications on mobile and wearable devices.

Founders: Patrick Vlaskovits (CEO), Gabor Szanto (CTO)

SyncSpot Los Angeles, CA

SyncSpot uses an AI assistant to create and fulfill free-gift media rewards for in-store promotions. Example: Buy product X, get a free music subscription.  

Founders: Jubair Jalil (CEO), Mohammed Jalil (CTO)

Weav New York City, NY & London, United Kingdom  

Weav makes adaptive music via an artist remix console, and will be the supplier of bio-metric-driven music to workout apps, dance studios, exercise equipment manufacturers and action sports products.

Founders: Elomida Visviki (CEO), Lars Rasmussen (CTO)


The Road to 10 Great Music Startups


Please watch this video before signing up for a meeting… it will save us time!

Since announcing Techstars Music* a month ago, it’s been non-stop action. Thousands of emails. Hundreds of applications. Forty-six in-person meetings. Ten flights. Nearly 100 phone calls. Deep strategy sessions about the future of music with our member companies SONOS, Warner Music Group, Harmonix, Bill Silva Entertainment, Young Guru’s Era Of The Engineer, Silva Artist Management, SONY Music, and Q’Prime Management.

All this in service of finding and investing in the ten most interesting music startups anywhere on Earth. And yes, I have a few updates to share on this front already. More about that in a minute. 🙂

But first, it’s time to announce my recruiting tour, which starts this Friday in Los Angeles and wraps up December 5th in Paris. Come say “hello!” or “bonjour!” or “hallo!” and tell us all about your awesome companies.

Techstars Music Recruiting Tour:

Friday, Nov. 11 — Los Angeles
Tuesday, Nov. 15 — New York City
Monday, Nov. 28 — London, England
Tuesday, Nov. 29 — London, England
Thursday, Dec. 1 — Berlin, Germany
Friday, Dec. 2 — Berlin, Germany
Monday, Dec. 5 — Paris, France

To book a slot, fill out the meeting request Form HERE.

Yes, you have to use the form to book a meeting. It keeps things organized! We also strongly recommend you watch the video at the top of this post, and then read this article and this website. That way, when we meet, we can just talk about your company and how we might work together. 😉

Now, a few words about what we’ve seen, and what we’re looking for:

  1. So far, 17% of our applications are from outside the U.S.A. We’d like that number to be 30% before we close applications on December 11.
  2. Our member companies are more interested in building new revenue streams than optimizing existing businesses. “Let’s get out of the pennies and into the dollars!” just might be the best line from our strategy sessions thus far.
  3. Is the basic human need for shared, communal listening a big opportunity or a total red herring? We’re still arguing.
  4. If we have one company in the program that needs to license music for its business to work, that will be a lot. We’re focused elsewhere.
  5. Where are the awesome e-commerce companies?
  6. Who is inventing a game where the object is to create real music that people love and listen to in the real world?

If you have cool stuff for me to see in the meantime, questions about the program or restaurant tips for the cities above, hit me @bobmoz on Twitter.

*About Techstars Music

Techstars Music is a three-month, mentorship-driven startup accelerator program. Each year, we will invest $120k each in 10 music related startups from around the world. We’ll also provide office space in Los Angeles and access to artists and executives from all facets of the global music business. To help us find and mentor this new crop of startups, we’ve enlisted some of the leading companies in music to help us build and run the program:



PS — I really struggled to find the right musical reference for this post.
It’s both too easy, and really hard:
“On The Road Again?”
“I’ve Been Everywhere?”
“No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn?”
“Travelin’ Band?”
“King Of The Road?”
“Wherever I May Roam?”
“Torn And Frayed?”
“Day After Day?”
Actually… I do know, it’s this one:

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of Techstars Music. Applications close December 11, 2016. Apply now.


This was originally published on Medium

Announcing Techstars Music

Techstars is excited to announce the Techstars Music Accelerator, a new startup accelerator program created with top music companies to invest in the ecosystem of music. The Techstars Music program will kick off in Los Angeles in February 2017 and applications are open today.

We’re looking for radical tech innovations to benefit everyone in the music industry — including fans and artists.

To help us find this new crop of startups, we’ve gathered some of the leading companies in music to serve as members of the program. The Techstars Music Accelerator includes major record labels (Warner Music Group and Sony Music), global artist management and live event companies (QPrime Management, Silva Artist Management, Young Guru’s Era of the Engineer, Bill Silva Entertainment), independent game studios (Harmonix Music Systems), and creator of the leading whole-home audio system (Sonos). I will serve as the program’s Managing Director.

We’ve created a broad definition of what makes a music company, and we’re excited to work with this impressive consortium to mentor and invest in startups working in all categories of music. Once selected, these ten startups will gather in Los Angeles to participate in Techstars’ three-month, mentorship-driven accelerator program.

What kind of investments are we looking for? Techstars Music will find and accelerate the best music tech startups building scalable solutions for:

  • New music experiences for home, festival, venue, auto, mobile and connected devices
  • Music and video creation, collaboration and sharing
  • Direct-to-fan marketing and e-commerce
  • Content infrastructure and delivery
  • Royalties, rights management, reporting and licensing
  • Data mining, machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Artist discovery and content curation
  • Music education for digital natives
  • Social platforms and games to connect artists and fans

(Note: This program is about software and hardware; we’re NOT looking for startup labels, artists, content companies or live event promoters. If that’s you, check THIS out.)

The time has come to bring artists, music business executives, investors, and startups together. Let’s all get in the same room and collaborate on innovation.

Techstars Music begins in February 2017, and applications are open today.

Application deadlines, program dates and additional information are available now at

For music companies who would like to participate as members or startup founders who would like more information about applications, please contact

Press inquiries:
Joanie Kindblade


Techstars Music Members:

Warner Music Group
Sony Music
QPrime Management
Silva Artist Management
Era of the Engineer
Harmonix Music Systems
Bill Silva Entertainment