The BizSpark startup of the day is Soundtracker, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Daniele Calabrese, Founder and CEO of Soundtracker. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am the founder and CEO. I oversee product development, business strategy and fundraising.
What did you do before creating your company?
Before founding Soundtrckr I was the communications officer and project manager with the Development Communications Division of the World Bank, working in Central America, the Middle East and West Africa. My focus was on wireless technology, infrastructure, telecom, energy, public sector reform and climate change. I also helped to initiate the First World Congress on Communication for Development and spearheaded numerous international communications efforts involving the uptake of mobile technologies.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It’s an honor to be chosen. I’ve been using Windows mobile devices since early 1998, and I believe that Windows Phone 7 is a spectacular and mature OS. The Soundtrckr team couldn’t be more excited to participate in its launch.
What is your company’s mission?
Soundtrckr believes that the market conditions, user behaviors and technological underpinnings necessary for streaming radio to achieve mainstream dominance have finally converged. The new model for radio is social, mobile and local, where anyone can broadcast from anywhere while interacting with their listeners, friends and neighbors in real time. It’s music as social currency, a way to communicate and connect with the people and places that matter to us most.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
To date, Soundtrckr has raised $760,000 from angels, private investors and institutional investors (including LUMU Invest Sàrl, and Romulus Capital). We are currently seeking to raise a venture round of $2M.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We currently have a team of 10 professionals including 8 mobile, web and backend developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
We are looking for marketing and business development/sales professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, DC.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
Soundtrckr was conceived as a mobile application, so the bulk of our development efforts have been focused on smartphones. We began with iPhone, aiming to build a user-base of young early adopters in major American cities. To expand this user base and to offer the Soundtrckr experience to anyone with an Internet connection, we created a complementary website. Next, recognizing a market that is severely underserved by streaming radio services, we partnered with Nokia to create a native music app for Nokia handsets. Finally, observing the success of the Windows 7 OS and anticipating similar results for Windows Phone 7, we began working with Microsoft.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
At the intersection of social networking, location-based services, mobile computing (particularly smartphones tablets) and cloud-based content delivery.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
Besides providing critical resources and technological/strategic guidance to early-stage startups, BizSpark facilitates collaboration and exchange of ideas between industry veterans and grassroots developers. In short, BizSpark connects experience to innovation, which is how a technology company succeeds.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Give equal attention to the product and the business plan. Your product must be useful, easy to use and fun, and your path to profitability must be clearly laid out from day 1. From these, all else follows.
Who’s your role model?
Not just going for the hometown guy, but I have to say Bill Gates. I remember when I saw him in Rome in 1995, showcasing Windows 95 and the beta version of Internet Explorer 2.0 – basically laying out the foundation for the modern age. Equally important is his transition from tech entrepreneur to philanthropist. This is incredibly inspiring for a person like me, who has spent almost 10 years working on development issues around the world. What Bill has done denotes a person who knows how to make the most out of their available resources, whether in the garage or on the world stage. It’s interesting to consider that the man who invented modern computing will probably be remembered as the man who funded the eradication of malaria. And in my opinion, that’s a life well-lived.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
That modern communications technology is allowing us to connect digital life to the real world, and that Soundtrckr starts every single day with this idea in mind.