Superfan marketplaces, virtual influencers, AI-powered music campaigns, and mobile-phone holograms were only a few of the pioneering ideas bandied about during Techstars Music’s Demo Day on Tuesday (May 18th), which aired exclusively on Rolling Stone‘s Twitch channel.
From a competitive global pool, Techstars Music selects a handful of promising music-tech startups across music, media, and technology each year, infusing them with investment funding from partners across the music industry; past startups have gone on to raise over $150 million in follow-on capital, unlock multimillion-dollar market caps, and team up with star artists. The seed accelerator counts Sony, Warner, Amazon Music, Quality Control, Concord, Peloton among its investor partners — and it received a new partner this week in HYBE, the Korean entertainment juggernaut behind BTS. During an annual Demo Day, which usually takes place in Los Angeles, startups present their projects to the public for the first time, court future investors, and share job opportunities.
On Tuesday, Music’s managing director Bob Moczydlowsky joined Rolling Stone senior editor Amy X. Wang and Rolling Stone Twitch host Tia Hill for a two-hour virtual Demo Day. The show featured founders of all the 2021 startups, advice for future entrepreneurs, and sizzle reels from investor partners, and it also dove into the accelerator’s pledge to select 50% of its startup founders from diverse backgrounds going forward. Tune into the stream, which will be available only for a limited time, at the link here:
The 11 startups of the 2021 class — all of which presented during Tuesday’s video stream and shared founders’ contacts, hiring information, and other pertinent details in the sidebar chat — are below.
555 Comic: Tokyo-based startup that tells stories on Twitter and Instagram using virtual influencers the company designed.
BlackOakTV: Subscription video streaming service focused on content for black audiences.
Creative Futures Collective: A networking nonprofit designed to bring leadership employment opportunities for those in marginalized communities. Techstars donated to the Collective and doesn’t hold an equity stake in the company.
Fave: A social networking app for superfans. Those on the app make videos and interact with other superfans, competing for clout and rewards.
HappsNow: A ticketing service that also provides data analytics, marketing and customer support features.
Holotch: a 3D livestreaming company that allows fans to view streams and holograms from their phones.
Music Tech Works: A music rights company to streamline music licensing. It has a database detailing the ownership of over 100 million songs.
Westcott Multimedia: An advertising company that helps launch ad campaigns around catalog music.
Rares: A site that aims to allow buyers to purchase shares in valuable shoes the same way they could buy stocks on the stock market.
Remetrik: Music accounting software that helps music companies streamline their royalty accounting and other data.
Volta: Software to help artists create interactive, mixed-reality digital performances.