The best startup idea came from founders being interested in a specific field and saw something missing. How do I solve a problem if I’m not interested in any field?

My only interests are building startups. I’m not interested in sports, video games, instruments. All I do is go to the gym casually and work on startup ideas. So how do I find problems that everyone else is missing if I have nothing I’m particularly knowledgeable about?

submitted by /u/LavonnaTeti
[link] [comments]
Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Was Quibi the good kind of startup failure?

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7 a.m. PT). Subscribe here.

Startup failure is easy to hold up as a type of martyrdom for progress, especially if the founders are starting out scrappy in the first place and trying to save the world. But heroic narrative gets complicated when the startup failure involves the biggest names in entertainment, dubious product decisions, and well over $ 1 billion in losses in an already very competitive consumer tech subcategory.

I was going to skip any mention of Quibi because, like me, you have heard more than enough already. But this week its shutdown announcement turned into a debate on Twitter about the nature of startup failure and whether this was still the right kind. Many in the startup world said it was still good, basically because most any ambitious startup effort leads to progress. Danny Crichton, in turn, argues that the negativity was fully justified in this case.

Let’s be honest: Most startups fail. Most ideas turn out wrong. Most entrepreneurs are never going to make it. That doesn’t mean no one should build a startup, or pursue their passions and dreams. When success happens, we like to talk about it, report on it and try to explain why it happens — because ultimately, more entrepreneurial success is good for all of us and helps to drive progress in our world.

But let’s also be clear that there are bad ideas, and then there are flagrantly bad ideas with billions in funding from smart people who otherwise should know better. Quibi wasn’t the spark of the proverbial college dropout with a passion for entertainment trying to invent a new format for mobile phones with ramen money from friends and family. Quibi was run by two of the most powerful and influential executives in the United States today, who raised more money for their project than other female founders have raised collectively this year.

Ouch. However, I think this still misses the bigger dynamic happening.

Quibi was so easy to criticize that it created an opportunity to plausibly defend for anyone who wants to show that they are here for the startups no matter how crazy. When you defend Quibi, you’re defending your own process, and making it clear to the next generation of startups that you’re personally not scared off from other people with crazy ideas and have the will to try even if the result is a big mess. Which is who founders want to hire in the early days, and who investors want to bet on.

I support both sides of this mass-signaling game. Analysts and journalists have provided a broad range of valuable insights about how Quibi was doing it wrong, that are no doubt being internalized by founders of all types. Meanwhile, Quibi defenders are no doubt sorting through their inbound admirers for great new deals. All in all, Quibi and the debate around it might ultimately make future companies a little better. Which is what we all wanted in the first place, right?

Root Insurance plans pricing as Datto goes public

The IPO market has not shut down (yet) for election turmoil and whatnot. First up, managed service provider Datto went out on Wednesday and has inched up since then — a strong outcome for the company and its private equity owner, even if third parties did not benefit from an additional pop. A few more notes from Alex Wilhelm:

Datto’s CEO Tim Weller  told TechCrunch  in a call that the company will still be well-capitalized after the public offering, saying that it will have a very strong cash position.

The company should have places to deploy its remaining cash. In its S-1 filings, Datto highlighted a COVID-19 tailwind stemming from companies accelerating their digital transformation efforts. TechCrunch asked the company’s CEO whether there was an international component to that story, and whether digital transformation efforts are accelerating globally and not merely domestically. In a good omen for startups not based in the United States, the executive said that they were.

Next to market, Root Insurance released its stock pricing set this week, raising the goal to a valuation above $ 6 billion. It’s definitely on track to be Ohio’s biggest tech IPO to date. Here’s Alex again, with a comparison against Lemonade, another recently IPOed insurance tech provider for Extra Crunch:

[I]t appears that Root at around $ 6 billion is cheap compared to Lemonade’s pricing today. So, if you’d like to anticipate that Root raises its IPO price range to bring it closer to the multiples that Lemonade enjoys, feel free as you are probably not wrong. Are we saying that Root will double its valuation to match Lemonade’s current metrics? No. But closing the gap a bit? Sure.

For insurtech startups, even Root’s current pricing is strong. Recall that Root was worth $ 3.65 billion just last August. At $ 6.34 billion, the company has appreciated massively in just the last year and change. A small repricing could boost Root’s valuation differential to a flat 100% rather easily.

So, for MetroMile and ClearCover and the rest of the related players, do enjoy these good times as long as they last….

Image Credits: Dong Wenjie (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

AR/VR is coming (sooner than expected)

A year ago, the market looked quite young. But now, the pandemic has made the value of augmented and virtual reality clearer to the world. Lucas Matney, who has been covering the topic here for years, just conducted a survey of seven top investors in the space. While they mostly continue to see the vertical as a bit early, they see it getting relevant fast. Here’s one key response, from Brianne Kimmel of Work Life Ventures, on Extra Crunch:

Most investors I chat with seem to be long-term bullish on AR, but are reticent to invest in an explicitly AR-focused startup today. What do you want to see before you make a play here?

I think it all comes down to a unique insight and a competitive advantage when it comes to distribution. And so, I’ll use these new [Zoom] apps as an example, I think that they’re a great example where there are certain aspects of roles and certain highly specialized skills where teaching educating and doing your daily job on Zoom won’t actually cut it. I do foresee AR applications becoming an integral part of certain types of work. I also think that now that as a lot of the larger platforms such as Zoom are more open, people will start building on the platforms and there will be AR-specific use cases that can help industries where, you know, a traditional video conferencing experience doesn’t quite cut it.

Busy Zurich street scene with blurred electric car and pedestrians. Luxury electric cars are popular in Zurich. In the background are retail shops and offices. Zürich often ranks in the top ten most liveable cities in the world.

Zurich startup scene loaded with talent

In other survey news, Mike Butcher continues his (sadly virtual) tour across European startup hubs for EC, this week checking in with investors in Zurich, Switzerland. Here’s a tidy explanation of the city and country’s deep technical experience, from Michael Blank of investiere:

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?

Switzerland has always been at the forefront of technological innovation in areas such as precision engineering or life sciences. We strongly believe that Switzerland will also thrive in the long run in those areas. Thinking for example about additive manufacturing startups such as 9T Labs or Scrona, drone companies such as Verity or Wingtra or health tech startups such as Aktiia or Versantis.

Brussels investors, Mike is headed your way next. You can reach him here.

Around TechCrunch

Announcing the agenda for TC Sessions: Space 2020
Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck is coming to TC Sessions: Space 2020
Extra Crunch Partner Perk: Get 6 months free of Zendesk Support and Sales CRM

Across the week

TechCrunch

This serial founder is taking on Carta with cap table management software she says is better for founders

Equity Monday: Three neat venture rounds, and Alibaba’s latest

The smart speaker market is expected to grow 21% next year

Financial institutions can support COVID-19 crowdfunding campaigns

Ready Set Raise, an accelerator for women built by women, announces third class

Extra Crunch

Here’s how fast a few dozen startups grew in Q3 2020

Late-stage deals made Q3 2020 a standout VC quarter for US-based startups

Founders don’t need to be full-time to start raising venture capital

Three views on the future of media startups

Dear Sophie: What visa options exist for a grad co-founding a startup?

#EquityPod

From Alex:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Myself, along with Danny and Natasha had a lot to get through, and more to say than expected. A big thanks to Chris for cutting the show down to size.

Now, what did we get to? Aside from a little of everything, we ran through:

Whew! It was a lot, but also very good fun. Look for clips on YouTube if you’d like, and we’ll chat you all next Monday.

Startups – TechCrunch

Why you have to pay attention to the Indian startup scene

This is The TechCrunch Exchange, a newsletter that goes out on Saturdays, based on the column of the same name. You can sign up for the email here.

Back in August during Y Combinator’s two-day demo extravaganza, TechCrunch noted a number of startups from India that stood out from the batch. Names like Bikayi (e-commerce tools), Decentro (consumer banking APIs), Farmako Healthcare (digital health records) and MedPiper Technologies (helping hire health professionals) joined our list of favorites from the batch.

Seeing so many India-focused startups in the mix wasn’t a fluke. Data shows that India’s venture capital scene has grown sharply in recent years. 2019 was the country’s biggest ever in terms of venture dollars invested, with Bain counting $ 10 billion during the year.

In 2020, the third quarter brought the country’s venture capital scene back to form. After a somewhat average start to the year, Indian startups saw their venture capital investment fall to just $ 1.5 billion in Q2, the lowest quarterly tally since 2016. But data via KPMG and PitchBook make it plain that Q3 was a rebound, with $ 3.6 billion invested into Indian startups during the three-month period.

That figure was not a historical record, mind; the Q3 total looks to be only the fourth-biggest VC quarter in India’s startup history since at least 2013 and, perhaps, ever. But it was a good bounce-back during a crippling pandemic all the same. The country’s VC deal count also rebounded a bit in the third quarter, with some of that money landing in big chunks, including a $ 500 million investment into Byju’s this September.

Smaller startups are also seeing strong results. Bikayi is one such startup. TechCrunch caught up with the company via email, digging into its post-Demo Day results. Its monthly recurring revenue (MRR) grew 60% in August from its July results, it said. And in late August the company told TechCrunch that it was on track to reach $ 1 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) by the end of the year.

Bikayi said more recently that it recorded 100% growth in the number of merchants it supports, and 100% revenue growth in September. So the WhatsApp-focused Shopify-for-India is racing ahead. October results, Bikayi CEO Sonakshi Nathani added, are looking “promising” as well.

To get a better handle on the Indian startup market more broadly, The Exchange got ahold of Accel investors Arun Mathew (based in the United States), and Prayank Swaroop (based in India), for a bit of digging.

Historically, falling bandwidth and smartphone costs along with improved Internet reliability helped lay the foundation for the recent Indian startup wave, according to Swaroop. Mathew added that some high-profile successes like Flipkart made startups a more attractive option, with the ecommerce company’s success helping to “change the tenor” of the conversation around founding tech firms in recent years.

It also helps, Swaroop added, that seasoned folks from existing Indian tech companies are branching out and starting companies of their own, recycling knowledge into new, smaller companies. This is a key method by which Silicon Valley has managed to create an outsized number of hits over time; a concentration of operators who have built big startups are key grist in the unicorn mill. And there’s more money being raised to help power new Indian tech companies.

All told, 2019 was a huge year for the Indian startup market in venture capital terms, and 2020’s recovery is underway. Let’s see what gets built.

Market Notes

The Exchange spent a lot of this week digging into venture capital data and trends, something that we love to do. If you need to catch up, here’s our look at the U.S. venture capital scene in Q3, and here are our notes on the more global picture. And we touched on India above. What more could there be?

Well, some data on healthcare-focused companies is just what we need. Per a new report from CB Insights, there are 41 healthcare-focused unicorns today. More importantly, startups focused on health-related matters (telemedicine, mental health, AI, etc.) just had a record quarter. Even for a pandemic, $ 21.8 billion went into the space across 1,539 global rounds in the third quarter. That’s far more activity than I would have guessed.

And with that, we’re cutting Market Notes short this week for some important TechCrunch news:

Hey y’all. It’s Megan Rose Dickey busting into Alex’s newsletter for a couple of quick news items. First, I officially launched my newsletter, Human Capital! It covers labor and diversity and inclusion in tech. Also, I relaunched the Mixtape podcast with my colleague Henry Pickavet. You can check out our first episode of Season 3 about California’s gig worker ballot measure Prop 22 here.

Megan is amazing and you should check out her pod and newsletter.

Various and Sundry

As always, there was more good stuff to share here than I can possibly fit, so let’s get right into the data, takes, links and other delicacies.

Wrapping, a survey from Salesforce shows that enterprise cloud CEOs are reporting better-than-anticipated revenue growth and lower-than-anticipated churn, when compared to their March estimates. That is probably why earnings haven’t been a disaster and so many unicorns were able to go public in Q3.

That and valuations in the public sphere are higher than what private investors are dishing up, inverting the market’s last few years.

See you Monday,

Alex

Startups – TechCrunch

3 Signs a Founder Has What it Takes to Scale a Startup During Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic horizon stretches onward and a return to normalcy appears ever more distant, adaptation is the only option. Founders must prepare for a lengthy economic downturn, a slower sales pipeline, extended fundraising timelines and a deeply disrupted workplace — circumstances no one was planning for at the start of 2020.

Simply staying afloat will be difficult from now into the foreseeable future, and scaling your startup will be even more challenging due to the knock-on effects of the pandemic on the business environment. How do you invest in additional capacity if sales and funding cycles are extended? How do you source quality hires without meeting them in person? How can you be sure your team engagement stays high when no one is in the office? And even more confounding, how do you proceed onward and upward when everything seems uncertain?

In the best of times (and particularly in the worst), the responsibility for growing a startup falls to the founder and his or her ability to pivot. This is evident with the startups that have flourished during the pandemic, including home-fitness company Mirror and plant-based food producer Impossible Foods. Each was propelled by positive market tides as well as founders with the vision to see this crisis — awful as it might be — as an opportunity for growth. This unflinching mindset is fundamental to managing uncertainty.


StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here

What makes founders essential when fortifying a startup against unpredictable risks?

Why founders matter

Founders presumably understand their startup better than anyone else. As such, investors often see the founder as the person most attuned to a startup’s potential and the obstacles in front of it. Employees can glean a similar attitude; ideally, they catch a founder’s vision and coalesce into a team, animating everything a company does in that image. No wonder people look to founders first to navigate fledgling companies through crises.

Beyond setting the right strategy, however, founders must also be an example for the entire company to follow. In practice, that means setting a trajectory for the startup that people feel excited to achieve. It means imagining what the future looks like and engineering a company to thrive in tomorrow’s world. It also means adapting to the unexpected with bold, confident responses.

Studies show that entrepreneurs are audacious by nature and more certain of their own ability to control outcomes than others. In crisis times such as these, great founders continue to ooze these characteristics, helping the entire startup feel assured and, perhaps most importantly, in control.


Related: 10 Common Traits of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs

Key traits of effective founders

Many founders are full of ideas and enthusiasm, yet some propel their startups toward growth while others fizzle out. Here are some traits that distinguish the very best startup leaders:

Great storytelling skills

A startup doesn’t need an allegory to succeed (one that begins in a mythical garage, for instance), but it does need a great storyteller: someone who can communicate the vision of the company to employees, investors and customers alike.

Don’t confuse this with needing to be a world-renowned motivational speaker. The goal is to craft a compelling narrative, and this can be achieved without tremendous inborn talent. Like most skills, storytelling develops through practice. Take every opportunity to practice (i.e. conferences, interviews, pitches, follow-up calls) evangelizing about your company. Learn to seamlessly connect the future of your company (and whatever it takes to grow) with its history and founding principles.

A strong sense of foresight

If the goal is to scale fast, promising companies need to stay strategically ahead of the markets they operate in. Thus, foresight is an essential skill for founders, and it stems from understanding an industry in-depth: the market forces, competitive landscape, technical roots and customer profiles.

Deep foresight takes dedicated time to cultivate, so founders must make space in their schedules to ponder the big picture and long-term arc of their industry. A great example of deep foresight is Zoom; the company set out to transform an unloved industry (videoconferencing) and was positioned to seize that opportunity when it suddenly arrived. Zoom was designed for the future, evidencing just the kind of foresight it takes to grow in the face of changing global circumstances.

The ability to adapt

Startups are born to adapt; the trajectory never plays out as planned.

Change can be challenging and disruptive, but effective founders are unfazed. They embrace change, seeing it as an opportunity to evolve and expand upon their first principles.

Startup adaptability is engineered. To build for adaptability, design operations that approach problems systematically and can be optimized for flexibility. And always criticize processes, rather than people. It’s also a good idea to have several parallel strategies in place to insulate yourself from any single point of failure.

For example, one of the startups I advise runs a barbell strategy for business development to ensure it is simultaneously working on prospects that will pay off in a few months and ones that will pay off in a few years. The team is lean, but can manage a number of potential revenue outcomes by proceduralizing commonalities in the work so no single person is stretched too thin.


Sign Up: Receive the StartupNation newsletter!

Key takeaways

Many problems seem insurmountable, especially those that many of us have faced in recent months. Founders shouldn’t underestimate the obstacles in their path, but they shouldn’t see them as impassable, either. The best startup founders don’t crumble in the face of adversity. They overcome it, one step at a time.

People can learn the traits of successful entrepreneurs, and very few people (even among famous founders) embody all of them without trying. Every founder can retool for unforeseen market environments. And right now, they must if they’re serious about scaling up a startup on their own schedule instead of one set by circumstances outside their control.

The post 3 Signs a Founder Has What it Takes to Scale a Startup During Crisis appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Self funded startup with 70k monthly revenue, seeking advice on getting funding. Private investor, seed, VC or capital loan? Or just keep funding it ourselves?

I started an ecommerce shop on Shopify around 6 months ago, we have a very strong team (basically all co-founders work) and have been making 5 digits revenue since the first month. We own the inventory and do fulfillment in-house, over 1000 SKUs. Our average revenue for the last months has been $ 70k a month. We're putting every profit back into the company as we're growing so rapidly.

We haven't actually put any of our own money into the company, everything is paid off with the profits, the issue is that we aren't taking anything for ourselves, no salaries, as that would hurt our ability to expand. Black Friday is coming up, so we've been investing heavily.

I know that being profitable from the start is a blessing, but after 6 months, with the pandemic and everything, personal savings are running low, and we need to actually start getting something out of the company at some point.

So we started talking about taking in funding from investors. We have a private investor interested in investing, but we're asking ourselves if that's the best option, or if we should seek out a seed investor or VC. We also were offered a $ 100k loan from Shopify Capital at 8.99% APR, the principal is 17% of the revenue generated by the shop.

Could some of you shed some advice on this, or recommend some reading material?

submitted by /u/hugh_jazz99
[link] [comments]
Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Leaving a Startup

I started working part time with a new startup who already has an mvp and is trying to raise money. Once the raise is complete I’m supposed to join full time. Now after a couple of weeks being part time I’ve lost faith in the idea, and how it may grow. How do I quit given that the raise may depend on an engineer like me being in the team. I want the company to grow, I just don’t think is worth my time.

submitted by /u/rossoneri1899
[link] [comments]
Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

mmhmm, Phil Libin’s new startup, acquires Memix to add enhanced filters to its video presentation toolkit

Virtual meetings are a fundamental part of how we interact with each other these days, but even when (if!?) we find better ways to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, many think that they will be here to stay. That means there is an opportunity out there to improve how they work — because let’s face it, Zoom Fatigue is real and I for one am not super excited anymore to be a part of your Team.

Mmhmm, the video presentation startup from former Evernote CEO Phil Libin with ambitions to change the conversation (literally and figuratively) about what we can do with the medium — its first efforts have included things like the ability to manipulate presentation material around your video in real time to mimic newscasts — is today announcing an acquisition as it continues to hone in on a wider launch of its product, currently in a closed beta.

It has acquired Memix, an outfit out of San Francisco that has built a series of filters you can apply to videos — either pre-recorded or streaming — to change the lighting, details in the background, or across the whole of the screen, and an app that works across various video platforms to apply those filters.

Like mmhmm, Memix is today focused on building tools that you use on existing video platforms — not building a video player itself. Memix today comes in the form of a virtual camera, accessible via Windows apps for Zoom, WebEx and Microsoft Teams; or web apps like Facebook Messenger, Houseparty and others that run on Chrome, Edge and Firefox.

Libin said in an interview that the plan will be to keep that virtual camera operating as is while it works on integrating the filters and Memix’s technology into mmhmm, while also laying the groundwork for building more on top of the platform.

Libin’s view is that while there are already a lot of video products and users in the market today, we are just at the start of it all, with technology and our expectations changing rapidly. We are shifting, he said, from wanting to reproduce existing experiences (like meetings) to creating completely new ones that might actually be better.

“There is a profound change in the world that we are just at the beginning of,” he said in an interview. “The main thing is that everything is hybrid. If you imagine all the experiences we can have, from in person to online, or recorded to live, up to now almost everything in life fit neatly into one of those quadrants. The boundaries were fixed. Now all these boundaries have melted away we can rebuild every experience to be natively hybrid. This is a monumental change.”

That is a concept that the Memix founders have not just been thinking about, but also building the software to make it a reality.

“There is a lot to do,” said Pol Jeremias-Vila, one of the co-founders. “One of our ideas was to try to provide people who do streaming professionally an alternative to the really complicated set-ups you currently use,” which can involve expensive cameras, lights, microphones, stands and more. “Can we bring that to a user just with a couple of clicks? What can be done to put the same kind of tech you get with all that hardware into the hands of a massive audience?”

Memix’s team of two — co-founders Inigo Quilez and Jeremias-Vila, Spaniards who met not in Spain but the Bay Area — are not coming on board full-time, but they will be helping with the transition and integration of the tech.

Libin said that he first became aware of Quilez from a YouTube video he’d posted on “The principles of painting with maths”, but that doesn’t give a lot away about the two co-founders. They are in reality graphic engineering whizzes, with Jeremias-Vila currently the lead graphics software engineer at Pixar, and Quilez until last year a product manager and lead engineer at Facebook, where he created, among other things, the Quill VR animation and production tool for Oculus.

Because working the kind of hours that people put in at tech companies wasn’t quite enough time to work on graphics applications, the pair started another effort called Beauty Pi (not to be confused with Beauty Pie), which has become a home for various collaborations between the two that had nothing to do with their day jobs. Memix had been bootstrapped by the pair as a project built out of that. And other efforts have included Shadertoy, a community and platform for creating Shaders (a computer program created to shade in 3D scenes).

That background of Memix points to an interesting opportunity in the world of video right now. In part because of all the focus (sorry not sorry!) on video right now as a medium because of our current pandemic circumstances, but also because of the advances in broadband, devices, apps and video technology, we’re seeing a huge proliferation of startups building interesting variations and improvements on the basic concept of video streaming.

Just in the area of videoconferencing alone, some of the hopefuls have included Headroom, which launched the other week with a really interesting AI-based approach to helping its users get more meaningful notes from meetings, and using computer vision to help presenters “read the room” better by detecting if people are getting bored, annoyed and more.

Vowel is also bringing a new set of tools not just to annotate meetings and their corresponding transcriptions in a better way, but to then be able to search across all your sessions to follow up items and dig into what people said over multiple events.

And Descript, which originally built a tool to edit audio tracks, earlier this week launched a video component, letting users edit visuals and what you say in those moving pictures, by cutting, pasting and rewriting a word-based document transcribing the sound from that video. All of these have obvious B2B angles, like mmhmm, and they are just the tip of the iceberg.

Indeed, the huge amount of IP out there is interesting in itself. Yet the jury is still out on where all of it would best live and thrive as the space continues to evolve, with more defined business models (and leading companies) only now emerging.

That presents an interesting opportunity not just for the biggies like Zoom, Google and Microsoft, but also players who are building entirely new platforms from the ground up.

Mmhmm is a notable company in that context. Not only does it have the reputation and inspiration of Libin behind it — a force powerful enough that even his foray into the ill-fated world of chatbots got headlines — but it’s also backed by the likes of Sequoia, which led a $ 21 million round earlier this month.

Libin said he doesn’t like to think of his startup as a consolidator, or the industry in a consolidation play, as that implies a degree of maturity in an area that he still feels is just getting started.

“We’re looking at this not so much consolidation, which to me means market share,” he said. “Our main criteria is that we wanted to work with teams that we are in love with.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Do you get that sinking feeling when you see another startup doing what you’re doing – this is normal right?

The industry I'm building in is becoming quite trendy, and I've seen a bunch of early stage competitors researching on reddit lately. I'm wondering if it's common to get a sinking feeling/minor anxiety when you see others doing what you're doing? Is it fair argument to say… the ones who build the best product, the fastest will win out? I try to use this feeling to just keep pushing me on

submitted by /u/mambono5555
[link] [comments]
Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

This ‘Emotional’ AI startup caught the attention of music legend Quincy Jones; invests in it

AI

Legendary 28-time Grammy winner Quincy Jones has made an undisclosed strategic investment in the “Emotional” Artificial Intelligence company Musimap. In addition to being an investor, he will act as a special adviser to Musimap, utilising his industry standing to foster relationships and help the business grow.

The investment is being made through Jones media and artist management company Quincy Jones Productions. The board of directors also includes the CEO and founder of Silicon Castles and former President of Dolby International, Andreas Spechtler.

Investment fund & startup accelerator LeanSquare is also investing in Musimap as part of its commitment to supporting the music technology sector in Belgium and beyond.

The company has developed a technology that it describes as a “psycho-emotional profiling engine” called MusiMe. The technology builds emotional profiles for listeners, detailing their mood, feelings, and values based on their listening history.

87-year-old record producer Jones was fascinated by Musimap’s technology after it captured his imagination and said, “I’m incredibly impressed by Musimap’s technology and am delighted to be able to help them grow with this investment. I was pleasantly surprised by how accurate my personality profile was when testing MusiMe, and it’s apparent that the product has a tremendous amount of potential.”

Emotional AI

Founded in 2015 by Frederic Notet and Vincent Favrat, Musimap is an Emotional Artificial Intelligence (A.E.I.) company that leverages 20 years of human research, audio-processing, and AI. It claims to own one of the largest manually annotated music databases in the world.

According to the company, its set of APIs utilises the proprietary database in a fraction of a second to provide clients with unique emotional intelligence. Apart from MusiMe, the company has two other technologies: MusiMatch – it leverages AI to match and find musically similar tracks, and MusiMotion – this leverages AI to enrich metadata, tagging tracks with weighted moods, emotions, and musical attributes such as genre, key, and BPM.

Music icon, Jones, has long been regarded as a pioneer in the music technology space, investing in Spotify in its early days, as well as piano-learning software, Playground Sessions, alongside Jammcard. 

Jones’ career spans seven decades, with notable achievements including becoming the first African American Vice President of a major record label, as well as producing Michael Jackson’s all-time best-selling album, Thriller. 

In 2017 he launched Qwest TV, a service offering high-definition streams of concerts and music documentaries.

Image credit: ShutterStock

Startups – Silicon Canals