In its third year, Techstars Music Accelerator announces its new 2019 class of music-based startups, which Fast Company unveiled, listed below. Techstars Music Accelerator is a mentorship-driven accelerator program that partners with some of music’s biggest companies, such as Warner Music Group, Sony, Concord, Bill Silva Entertainment, Silva Artist Management, RecoChoku, Royalty Exchange, Q Prime Management and others to discover, vet and develop tomorrow’s most impactful and innovative music startups. Each year, 9 startups are selected by Bob Moczydlowsky and his team after a six-month, global search. This year’s startups include new applications of artificial intelligence, on-demand manufacturing, augmented reality, music-assisted learning, interactive video, and online music creation.
Startups from the 2017 and 2018 class have since raised more than $40 million in follow-on investment, with the combined valuation of the Techstars Music Accelerator portfolio now surpassing $300 million — evidence of a warming trend in the venture capital markets for music-related startups.
The Techstars Music Accelerator is supported financially and strategically by Techstars and its Member companies. This membership includes some of the global music industry’s biggest players: Warner Music Group, Q Prime Management, Bill Silva Entertainment, Silva Artist Management, Sony, Concord, Royalty Exchange, RecoChoku, AVEX and Peloton.
For 2019, the Techstars Music Accelerator is also announcing an expanded membership and mentor pool, which now includes Peloton, the global technology company reinventing the fitness category; an expanded relationship with founding member, Sony and AVEX, one of the largest music companies in Japan.
Original founding member, Sony, has expanded its membership to include Sony Music Entertainment (USA), Sony Innovation Fund, and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), giving Techstars Music Accelerator companies access to mentorship and strategic help from the broad array of Sony businesses.
Avex has recently founded Avex USA Inc. in Los Angeles to better collaborate with startups/partners in the ecosystem in Los Angeles and the globe. This subsidiary is going to be in charge of investment and partnership development to open Japan/Asia’s market.
Both companies, Peloton and AVEX, are now invested in the Techstars Music Accelerator and actively mentoring 2019 startups, as well as existing portfolio companies.
“We’re excited to work with the Techstars Music Accelerator team and our fellow partners. Because music is such an integral part of the Peloton experience, we feel uniquely positioned to speak to opportunities in the fitness tech platform space. We’re looking forward to both supporting and getting inspired by the Class of 2019.” – Paul DeGooyer, Peloton’s Head of Music.
“We have met great partners including startups/investors/music companies/artists in the last program when we joined as a mentor, which was far more than we had expected. We are so stoked to deepen our relationship in the program and to work with forward-thinking music innovators from around the world to create the future of music together.” – Naoki Osada, AVEX USA INC.
In addition to mentorship and business development support from the aforementioned member companies, the Techstars Music Accelerator portfolio companies also work directly with a pool of more 350 independent mentors who come from Instagram, Google, Universal, Live Nation, Ticketmaster, UTA, WME, Amazon, AEG, Spotify, Microsoft, Splice, BOSE, Apple, Viacom, CAA, Kobalt, Native Instruments and more.
Startups also have the opportunity to work closely with musical artists in the Techstars Music Accelerator Artists-In-Residence program, which includes BOB MOSES, YACHT, BOSCO, POP ETC., DAWN, LITTLE BOOTS, Synyster Gates from AVENGED SEVENFOLD, Brad Delson from LINKIN PARK and Jillionaire from MAJOR LAZER.
Based in Los Angeles, the Techstars Music Accelerator program begins February 4, 2019 and ends on May 2, 2019 with an invitation-only demo day, where the ten companies from the 2019 class will present their products to an audience of more than 300 venture investors, music executives and global entertainment technology leaders.
Alongside Bob Moczydlowsky on the Techstars Music Accelerator staff are former music manager and Program Director, Jen Hall, Program Manager Samantha Russo, and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Matt Sandler.
Examples of the Techstars Music Accelerator portfolio companies actively re-shaping the music industry include:
Amper Music, funded by Foundry Group and Horizon Ventures and working with leading media companies and artists to provide score and custom music created on-demand. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/solrogers/2018/12/21/does-ai-enhance-creativity/#54c5e4f017d0)
Also, just launched Amper Score – the first AI music composition for enterprise content creators.
Blink Identity, actively working with Live Nation, Ticketmaster and Avex Inc., to experiment with facial recognition technology at live events. (https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/7/17329196/ticketmaster-facial-recognition-tickets-investment-blink-identity)
Endel, partnering with WMG’s Arts Music division to create and release a series of one-hour sleep soundscapes aimed at reducing anxiety and improving mood. Investors in Endel include Amazon’s The Alexa Fund, among others.
Tracer (formerly HelloTickets), the first company to successfully sell and validate thousands of event tickets using the Ethereum blockchain. (https://venturebeat.com/2018/07/17/tracer-hopes-to-beat-ticket-scalpers-with-blockchain-based-concert-tickets/)
Mighty Audio, makers of the Mighty Vibe music player, which was just recently named the “Ultimate Fitness Tool” by Outside Magazine (https://www.outsideonline.com/2381221/mighty-vibe-ultimate-fitness-tool)
Also named #1 in the Top Ten Companies that Spotify should buy (https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/seven-startups-spotify-should-try-to-buy-to-better-serve-artists/)
Popgun, funded by Khosla Ventures and working to generate hit pop songs entirely with artificial intelligence. (https://musically.com/2018/11/06/ai-music-startup-popgun-evolves-hit-songs/)
This new crop of 9 startups joins a portfolio of 21 other startups from 2017 and 2018, classes that included Amper Music, Popgun Labs, JAAK, Weav Music, Syncspot, Superpowered, Shimmur, Hurdl, Pippa, Pacemaker, Robin, Seated, Spark DJ, Endel, Tracer (HelloTickets), SecondBrain, Mighty, Soundcharts, Edison.ai, Gimme Media, and Blink Identity.
The Music Fund – San Francisco, CA
The Music Fund provides an automated platform that uses a data-driven smart-pricing algorithm to offer up-front cash for a portion of any artist’s royalty stream income. The purchased assets are added to an institutional-class fund that gives investors broad exposure to the music industry through quarterly dividends that aren’t correlated with the stock market.
Founders: John Funge and Thomas Jerde
Noteworthy: Independent artists make up an ever-growing share of global consumption. Offering those artists the ability to sell partial shares of their future income is an attractive asset class for investors.
SuperRes – Brisbane, Australia
Using AI to separate, classify and up-res audio for the purpose of audio search, discovery, recommendation, personalization, and quality enhancement. Works with studio as well as UGC audio and potentially even live mobile communication (video conferencing or phone calls).
Founders: Meaghan White, Lindsay Watt, and Christopher Gage.
Noteworthy: In addition to helping create new audio and music, artificial intelligence will also revolutionize the way audio is processed, compressed and delivered and reconstructed.
inklocker – Los Angeles, CA
Inklocker is like AWS for custom-manufacturing — providing a decentralized global network of on-demand manufacturers. Sell the shirt online to customers world-wide, carry no inventory, have products produced and shipped locally to the buyer.
Founders: Brandon Sowers and Tim Fillmore
Noteworthy: The combination of rapid improvements in direct-to-garment printing as well as the gig economy offer incredible opportunities for creators and producers of direct-to-consumer products.
Replica – Brisbane, Australia
Replica uses Artificial Intelligence to create the next generation of games, films, music, and other media. Their technology provides creative people with access to millions of ‘Replica’ voice actors on demand.
Founders: Shreyas Nivas, Riccardo Grinover and Keni Mardira.
Noteworthy: Can artificial intelligence be used to create new revenue streams for artists, actors and influencers?
Marble AR – Germany / Los Angeles
Marble is building an Augmented Reality platform to create unique live music experiences with visuals, lights, sounds, physical object interactions, and audience participation.
Founders: Tom Brückner and Paul Wehner
Noteworthy: With more and more artists and venues offering live AR experiences, the need to create, integrate and control those experiences needs to evolve.
Mila – Paris, France
Mila creates digital versions of proven music therapy methods to diagnose and rehabilitate neurodevelopmental disabilities. We transform conventional therapy into an engaging experience through gamification, musical personalization, and voice and gesture control. Mila interprets these data into neurological indicators to optimize therapy’s benefits while reducing drop-out rates.
Founders: Kenneth Burns, François Vonthron and Antoine Yuen
Noteworthy: Sometimes keeping children engaged in their therapy is the largest single driver of real results. Can musical games increase engagement and thus increase child health?
Rhinobird – Santiago, Chile
Interactive video software. Rhinobird’s focus is to design interactive video players that engage audiences with the screen more than any other video player in the market. By delivering multi-video reproduction and multi-angle synchronization, together with tools for user interactivity, Rhinobird is helping leading content creators and media platforms innovate and engage with their users.
Founders: Felipe Heusser and Sebastian Echeverria
Noteworthy: Media companies are launching their own branded streaming services left and right — but how do those broadcast style video experiences compete/compare with interactive social media stories?
EmbodyMe – Tokyo, Japan
EmbodyMe is building an app called Xpression, which will allow you to create realistic imaginative videos with deep learning. Pick any video from YouTube — and use your face to control the face of the person in the video in real-time — and then record and share the new video.
Founders: Issay Yoshida
Noteworthy: The age of video remixing — where the contents of the video can be controlled — is coming.
Signal Distribution – New York, NY
Details on this company will be revealed at a later date.
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,600 companies with a market cap of $18.2 Billion. www.techstars.com
For more information on the Techstars Music Accelerator, visit: TechstarsMusic.com.
Founded in 2012, Peloton is a global technology company reinventing fitness by bringing the energy and benefits of studio-style workouts to the convenience and comfort of home. With more than 11,000 live and on-demand classes, taught by a roster of elite instructors, Peloton delivers real-time motivation and curated playlists from the world’s best artists. The brand’s immersive content is accessible through the Peloton Bike, the Peloton Tread, and Peloton Digital, which provide a full slate of fitness offerings, anytime, anywhere, through an iOS app or the web. Headquartered in New York City, Peloton is changing the way people get fit through a comprehensive and socially-connected experience that makes every workout both efficient and addictive. The company has a growing number of retail showrooms across the US, UK and Canada. For more information, visit www.onepeloton.com.
Avex manages superstar artists, produces major festivals, operates music and video streaming services and owns and distributes music globally through its family of affiliated labels. It’s one of the most influential music companies on the planet, an innovative force in Japan, and an emerging investor in global startups.
For more information on AVEX, visit: Avex.com.
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