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Some thoughts from last month's Music Tech Pitch 4.5

I’ve been meaning to write something about this since the event, and only just got to it now. So, firstly, an apology for this although the delay doesn’t change much.
If you didn’t know it, Music Tech Pitch is a London based event for music tech start-ups to pitch their businesses to a panel of judges made up of VCs, Law firms, Accountancy firms and usually a number of music industry people. I chair the event / moderate the panel, and I’ve been doing this for almost two years now. Over that time it’s been interesting to see how the make up of the start-ups have changed. In the last event we held we had a very wide range of start-ups pitching. These were:
  • ALV Royalty Software - a cloud service performing royalty statement calculation and centralising metadata management
  • Blitzr - reunites all the music media, data and services in a single user-friendly interface @blitzrdotcom
  • Capsule.fm - audio-streaming notifications, stories and music to mobile and wearable devices @capsulefm
  • Exaget - delivers targetable, measurable and interactive audio ads to drive revenue for radio and music broadcasters @exaget
  • MeetandJam - a social network for musicians and a booking/calendar system for rehearsal and recording studios @meetandjam
  • Metable - a metadata and asset management platform, providing tools for labels, publishers and managers @metablemusic
  • Music Gateway - a music industry platform streamlining the way users get connected and conduct business on a global scale @Music_Gateway
  • Nagual Sounds - an interactive musical instrument, which tracks the movement via 3D camera and translates the data of the movement into music @nagualsounds

As you can see, they’re an interesting bunch. I won’t talk about all of them here, that would probably take a long time as even with a short pitch there's a lot of information about all of these and overall their pitches was very good I thought.

The format for music tech pitch is one that many will be familiar with if you’ve seen an event like this. Each start up gets a three minute pitch and then a few minutes to answer questions from the panel. Once all the pitches are done the judges vote on who they think had the strongest pitch using a range of criteria such as the idea, model, and scalability. Also, the audience get to vote separately on who they think should be the winning pitch, and often they come to a different conclusion than the judges.

Speaking of judges, we had an excellent panel this time round, and I think it’s worth mentioning them here:
  • Bruce Elliott-Smith, Business Development Director at Venture Capital Platform, CEO of electronic music company ArchangelUK, as well as a Grammy-winning song-writer for amongst others Kylie Minogue
  • Tom Frederikse, partner, Clintons
  • Julia Hawkins, Digital Strategy Manager, Universal Music UK
  • Phil Hope, Managing Director, Cutting Edge Group
  • Steve Lewis, Steve Lewis Services, previously founder of Stage Three Music sold to BMG Rights
  • Francois Planquette, Music Product Manager, Orange Group
  • Justin Prichard, Director - TMT Corporate Finance, EY

What I find interesting about this mix is how over the last two years we’re seeing a growing number of ‘app’ start-ups entering for the event. This time around one of those won, and whilst it wasn’t a music making app, it was significantly music based. The winning start-up was Capsule.fm. They had a very strong proposition and put it forward very well. It’ll be interesting to see how they do, and I plan to keep an eye on their app.

This time around at music tech pitch we started something a little different. We decided that it would be interesting to see a demo from a start up who’d been through kickstarter (or something similar) and get a view from them about how they’d found the process and how things were going now. We were lucky to get Mark from Dentaku who successfully funded their Ototo board on kickstarter earlier this year. Mark came along and talked about the process, the board, and even gave us a demo of the board running in his drain pipe saxophone, which was pretty awesome.

I hope that we can do more of this in future events too.

Overall it’s been a good experience in seeing how the music industry is changing and starting to accept new technology and how consumers are reacting to it. Mobile is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the picture and the traditional music industry is starting to recognise this too. It’s all good stuff, but we need to keep the momentum going and showcase more of the amazing talent that’s appearing in the music tech scene. I hope that music tech pitch 4.5 and continue to do this. That’s my plan anyway.

If you’re interested in music tech pitch 4.5, please contact me. I’d be more than happy to hear from you.

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