High in the attic of Notman House, where Montreal business incubator FounderFuel calls home, lies a startup that wants to take over as your social music hub.
Well, it’s more like two guys. But cofounders Conor Clark and Gabriel Lespérance think they’ve created the unique personal music-sharing social network in Wavo.Me.
“The most popular websites on the planet, like Facebook and Pinterest, they all let you express yourself through the product. They let you brand yourself through the product,” said Clark. “There’s nothing like that for music."
Accordingly they want to build an integrated social network around the often-fragmented world of music sharing while allowing users to express themselves. It’s a highly visual way of collecting music via relevance tactics, blurring the line between blogs and traditional playlists. People can share their tastes, replicating the actualization effect other sites like Facebook create.
"We wanted to make it as seamless as possible for you to discover and consume music,” said Lespérance. “For us music is like a post, an instagram or a tweet. An atom of your social expression.”
And they think it will kill the competitors and will accomplish what iTunes, RDIO and other sites like Spotify never could.
“We have so much opportunity and we only scratch the surface. It’s the major reason why the music industry is still in the dumps after ten years,” said Clark. “It needs this site.”
Clark and Lespérance were identified by FounderFuel as one of the companies it would mentor in its first cohort of businesses. $200,000 in venture capital later (via Real Ventures) and the pair are ready to aggressively go after music-sharing and social media clientele alike.
Their goal is 100,000 users by the end of next month. They have “tons of features and iterations” coming soon. A mobile app is set for early 2013.
Despite their youthful appearance - Lespérance is 24 while Clark is 25 - the pair have a ton of experience in the music industry. Clark has done nearly everything from running concert promotion companies to working as an artist; while Lespérance started his own IT consulting company at 17. Between the two of them they possess more than 10 years in the industry.
They met while they were both promoting shows through Montreal’s electronic music scene.
They shared the same fundamental frustrations with a fragmented music industry where it can be cumbersome to build a fanbase and convert that fanbase into money.
Success can often only come through a pre-determined formula through recognition on a number of different blogs, aggregators and social media sites.
“The conversion funnels through those four means. Even though I can have one of the biggest songs in the world, I might only have 300 fans on facebook,” said Clark. “Those kind of problems manifest themselves in so many ways.”
Last summer they committed to their ideas and followed through with their goal to get into FounderFuel. They met the appropriate mentors, refined and accelerated their strategy and gained initial investment.
“These guys were really good at understanding what they needed to do for their business in order to go from ‘point A’ to ‘point B’,” said general manager Ian Jeffrey. “Which was going from no funding to raising a seed round.”
Clark emphasizes that their seed money is an artificial milestone and now it’s time to put their investment into work. They’re not completely where they want to be but with more users they think they’re getting closer.