This summer, students in the Music Production, Technology and Innovation Master’s program at Berklee’s campus in Valencia graduated with a bright entrepreneurial vision in audiovisual technology — ready to make their idea a reality. But what they needed to do it was industry mentoring and networks. Matthew McIntyre, David Abrams, John Snelgrove, and Tejaswi Gorti formed startup company Between The Dimensions, an audio-visual production house creating installations that translate new scientific insight into artistic expressions that are intriguing and interactive. With support from their Berklee Valencia faculty, they joined Real Startup’s inaugural cohort of startups. The team spent the month of September 2017 immersed in Silicon Valley’s hotbed of music technology innovation, developing their products and business models with the mentorship of industry experts at leading companies such as Sennheiser, Warner Music Group, Universal Audio, iZotope and Dolby, among others.
Learning entrepreneurship in a real-world setting
The Berklee students learned how to apply their classroom learning and skill sets to entrepreneurship in the music and audio technology industry. “We got a ton of great feedback on our business ideas and our network expanded to include some very wise people”, said Matthew McIntyre, CEO of Between The Dimensions, “[the program had] amazing mentors in an ideal environment to develop your business ideas.” Real Startup students were active in workshops, site visits, and ran customer interviews with industry, while learning about subjects such as Business Model Canvases, Intellectual Property, UI/UX Design and Product Management directly from the top minds in those fields. “We want to educate and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs by taking them behind the scenes of industrial innovation” said Real Startup’s Program Director Priyanka Shekar, “so that they can gain the knowledge, resources and networks to grow in the real world.”
Meet a new class of music tech innovators
Real Startup is the first-of-its-kind — founded this year by Jay LeBoeuf and Priyanka Shekar, as an initiative of nonprofit Real Industry. The program aims to launch the best and brightest entrepreneurial teams from top university digital media, arts, entertainment and technology programs, commercializing their ideas and expanding their professional networks. Students received mentorship from the program’s network of almost 200 industry mentors including industry veterans Mike Herring (ex-President & CFO of Pandora), Bill Putnam (CEO of Universal Audio), and Jeff Riedmiller (VP, Sound Group at Dolby Labs). “Real Startup provided opportunities to interact with students learning about music and technology, the intersection of which is central to Pandora”, said Mike Herring (previously President & CFO, Pandora), “my team heard perspectives of a new generation of music lovers — invaluable insight and a fun way to get it!”
Other participants came from Stanford University and UC Berkeley:
- String Theory Labs: Delivers immersive 3D audio and multimedia content to live music events, enabling artists to create immersive experiences and allowing music venues to deliver them.
- MAD Archives: Addresses the “merch stigma” by transforming surplus physical merchandise into classy, sophisticated, and chic lifestyle collections, allowing artists to promote their brand as a lifestyle, increase profits, and gain exposure to new markets of fans.
- SterIO: Uses psychoacoustics and signal processing technology to automatically attenuate sound levels in audio playback systems to lower and safer levels without any noticeable change from the user’s perspective, reducing long-term hearing damage.
A tough three weeks in the program culminated in teams gaining support from a group of industry executives and connectors in a private showcase event, by which point the teams had learned from a diverse range of over 70 customers and mentors. “Customer Discovery is key! as well as persistence and patience, foster the key connections that you are able to establish” said Between the Dimensions’ McIntyre. They are now poised with focused business plans, skills, and networks to be able to successfully grow on their own. Follow their startup journeys and learn more about the program at: realindustry.org/rs/overview/
The Real Startup class: (back row from left) Jay LeBoeuf (staff), John Snelgrove, Yuval Adler, David Abrams, Matthew McIntyre, Wisam Reid, Priyanka Shekar (staff), (front row from left) Madison McClung, Tejaswi Gorti, Itamar Orr, Eesha Choudhari (TA)
Photos courtesy of Real Industry
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This is very cool. I’m an entrepreneur myself in the music tech space (though my degree was in comp sci). I took my company, Equipboard, through the 500 Startups accelerator program in San Francisco. Our company is nowhere near as large as Sennheiser, Warner Music Group, Universal Audio, and others you mentioned, but I would have loved the opportunity to work with Music Production/Tech students who wanted real world experience with a smaller and more “scrappy” company! I hope this is something you’ll consider in the future. I’m sure the Silicon Valley accelerator programs like YC and 500 Startups would love to work with Berklee.