The music accelerator TechStars Music has quietly shuttered, with Managing Director Bob Moczydlowsky citing an ‘outdated model.’ Here’s the latest.
Rumblings about the demise of the TechStars Music acceleration program started early this year, as entrepreneurs took to reddit. “Does anyone know what’s going on with Techstars Music?” asks one person. “We are in their process and suddenly they stopped replying to mails. Google says that they are permanently closed. Does anyone know what’s up?” That question was asked more than nine months ago—but now we have an answer.
Managing Director Bob Moczydlowsky spoke with Billboard about the end of the music accelerator, saying the model itself is outdated. “The amount of capital we can provide is limited. It is also held back by the constraints of labeling it ‘music,’” he says. “We want to invest in companies solving problems for music, not music tech companies. But the reality is that founders see ‘Techstars Music’ on the door and they bring us their startup to help kids learn to play violin.”
“We actually believe instruments will become irrelevant and software will mainly replace them. Our thesis now is we want to fund the future of entertainment, self-expression, and live events. This changes almost nothing in how we have already been operating and evaluating companies, but we want this thesis publicly understood.”
That means the April 2022 class of startups announced by Techstars Music is the last batch of startups to receive funding from the accelerator. They include Beatmatch, Circle Labs, Clever.fm, Green Room, KEIphone, Music Games Company, Musicasa, Brij, Radia, and Solace Vision.
The process worked like this—start ups could freely submit their application to the TechStars Music program. After several 1:1 interviews with founders and members, the accelerator chose 25-30 companies for a final screening event, from which the field was narrowed to just 10 companies receiving funding each year.
After being selected, startups were mentored by a roster of 300 executives, venture capitalists, and musicians over the course of 13 weeks. After that, the startups can pitch to potential investors at an invite-only Techstars Music Venture Summit, which is usually held in April.