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Techstars Music goes virtual and promises founder diversity

The Techstars Music accelerator has announced its plans for 2021, including the addition of Amazon Music as a new ‘member’ partner.

The program will also run entirely virtually for the first time when it kicks off on 16 February 2021, including its selection process, which is underway now.

Its managing director Bob Moczydlowsky is also promising that the startups chosen for the next program will have a diverse range of founders.

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Techstars Music 2020 startups make their pitches (online)

The demo days of music/tech accelerator Techstars Music are usually a big draw in the physical world, with music industry execs and tech investors convening in Los Angeles to watch its startups pitch.

By necessity, its 2020 demo day was different: streamed online with pre-recorded pitches. It was an impressive and varied selection of companies with concise, well-crafted pitches – plus the announcement that Amazon Music will be joining its selection of partners/backers for 2021.

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Techstars Music 2020 kicks off: ‘We will look at everything!’

“We want to invest in a game where the playing of the game includes all the roles of the music business, and the output of the game is real music and real pop stars. I’ve been trying to make this investment for three years. I feel it’s inevitable…”

If that startup exists, Bob Moczydlowsky, MD of the Techstars Music accelerator, is determined to find it. In fact, he’s looked at around a dozen startups during that last three years who were close but not quite the “full musical Hunger Games” venture that he can see clearly in his head.

“All of the parts are out there, and all of the consumer viewing/entertainment habits too. We have television shows that do this, it’s been predicted in pop culture a lot… Maybe there’s some structural reason why it wouldn’t work, but I feel it’s time for that to exist!”

Perhaps it’ll be fourth year lucky for Moczydlowsky and Techstars Music. Today, the accelerator is announcing its plans for its fourth cohort of startups in 2020, with plans for a ‘recruiting tour’ that will visit New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Brisbane, Sydney, Nashville, Atlanta, London, Berlin, Helsinki, Paris and Stockholm in the next few months, scouting for startups.

By December, 10 startups will have been chosen to join the 2020 Techstars Music programme, which kicks off in early February, taking $120k of investment each in the process.

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Blink Identity raises $1.5m from Live Nation and others

Austin-based startup Blink Identity has raised a $1.5m seed-funding round from investors including Live Nation, Techstars and Sinai Ventures. The company was part of this year’s cohort of Techstars Music startups.

Its focus is on ‘facial recognition at scale’ with an emphasis currently on live events: identifying people as they walk past its scanners, for example to check that they have bought tickets without having to slow down the queue with a manual-checking process.

Blink Identity says it’s also working with Live Nation to “leverage early pilot programs in a variety of venues”, following its participation in Techstars Music. “Blink Identity has created a fast, accurate and user-first identity service for live entertainment venues, solving the bottleneck problem and creating a preferential experience for consumers and venue owners alike,” said Jordan Fudge of Sinai Ventures, which led the seed-funding round. “We believe that this technology is widely applicable.”

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Techstars Music seeking second cohort of music startups

The Techstars Music accelerator is on the hunt for its second cohort of music/tech startups, with applications closing on 15 October.

The final decision on who makes it onto the program is set to be made by mid-December. The first cohort of startups earlier this year have gone on to raise more than $15m of funding, according to program boss Bob Moczydlowsky.

The next program will start in Los Angeles on 5 February 2018, with Techstars casting its net wide. “We’ve already been to Mexico, Japan, Australia, Canada, Boston, Denver, looking for the world’s best technical and business talent… with 10 countries and dozens of cities still to go,” wrote Moczydlowsky.

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Techstars Music accelerator names its first class of startups

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.

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Techstars Music: ‘Our goal is to create a real centre of gravity’

“Let’s broaden the definition of what makes a music company, rather than just investing in companies that require a licence. And let’s invest in companies up and down the entire stack.”

Former Yahoo, Topspin and Twitter executive Bob Moczydlowsky has some clear ideas about how to give the music/tech startups ecosystem a shot in the arm. A good thing, since his latest role is running the Techstars Music accelerator program.

Announced earlier this month, it’s part of the well-respected Techstars program, with plans to choose 10 music-related startups a year and invest $120k in each, including taking a 6% equity stake.