The new Techstars Music accelerator has announced the 11 startups who’ll be taking part in its first program this year.
Music Ally readers will spot some familiar names on the list, including DJ-app creator Pacemaker, adaptive-music firm Weav and blockchain-focused startup Jaak.
They are joined by Amper Music, Hurdl, Pippa, PopGun, Robin, Shimmur, Superpowered and SyncSpot in the first cohort of Techstars Music, which is a spin-off from the well-regarded Techstars accelerator.
It’s backed by major labels Sony Music and Warner Music, as well as Sonos, Harmonix and several music management firms. The Los Angeles-based accelerator will invest $120k in each startup, taking a 6% equity stake.
The startups will join the wider Techstars portfolio of 905 companies, who’ve gone on to raise more than $3bn in funding between them, with a collective market cap of $7.8bn.
With artificial intelligence, wearable devices and podcast advertising among the included businesses, the accelerator’s remit looks as wide as its head Bob Moczydlowsky promised when Techstars Music was announced in 2016.
“It’s important to have a broad definition of what makes a ‘music company’ for our investors and also for entrepreneurs, to say ‘hey look, when we say music companies, we don’t just mean licensed’,” Moczydlowsky told Music Ally in October.
“It’s been very hard to put together a profitable business with licensed content. But if you extend that definition, there are going to be AR/VR companies that will be – quote – ‘music companies’. There are going to be e-commerce companies that will be music companies.”
“There’ll be data-mining companies, and AI and machine-learning companies that use music-preference data to create interesting offerings for people. If you’re broadening that definition, you’re in a place where there are really interesting companies to invest in.”
Here’s the Techstars Music class of 2017:
Amper Music (US)
This New York-based startup creates production music on-demand using a combination of sample libraries and artificial intelligence (AI) tech.
A Nashville-based firm that has created a wearable LED device – the PIXL – which fans wear at gigs. It can be lit up for effects, but also captures data.
When it launched, Pacemaker was an app for DJing with Spotify’s catalogue. It has since added in social features and AI tech that are evolving it into something even more interesting.
Pippa has been working primarily in the podcasting world, helping producers use targeted advertising to up their ad revenues.
PopGun will use data on the most successful tracks on streaming services to train its AI software to “write music to match consumer habits”. Its CEO is We Are Hunted co-founder Stephen Phillips, whose time at Twitter coincided with Moczydlowsky’s.
This Toronto-based startup styles itself as a ‘personal concierge’ for live music, reserving tickets for fans based on a list of their favourite artists. It’ll be accessible through chat and voice interfaces as well as apps.
A new angle on artist-to-fan communication: this app gets fans to ask questions, post photos, share stories and create other content, which the community then upvotes in the hope of their favourite artists seeing and engaging with it.
Superpowered (US / Hungary)
This startup claims to have developed the “fastest mobile audio engine” for games, virtual reality and other apps on Android and iOS devices.
More AI from this London startup, but it’s not about creating music. Instead, it’s a marketing tool based around retail promotions and rewards for customers: ‘Buy product X, get a free music subscription’ being the example Techstars Music cites.