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At MediaJobs.com we have established our mission of Finding the Great Companies First. In keeping with our mission we have created this interview series with some of the newest startups in the New York City market area. We encourage you to learn about some of the newest companies and think about what might be a good fit for you.
What is the name and location of your company and who are the founders?
Founder & CEO: Sairam Chilappagari
How did the idea for your start-up come about?
Jukebox.io came into existence as a result of passion that we share with music and good old-fashioned jukeboxes. Also, partly because of fascinating behavior observed in Asian countries around playing music socially vs. purchasing songs.
Jukeboxes have always been part of our culture since turntables were brought into this world. Jukebox.io is an attempt to bring the social aspects of jukebox culture back to life in 21st century with new tools and technology. Our focus is to empower people to play their favorite music in any social settings with a simple touch. At the same time, we make venues’ lives easier by making it super simple to manage music.
Of the key people involved what is everyone’s experience and background?
Sairam Chilappagari – Product, Technology & Operations — Worked at DisneyMediaGroup for 4 years and Lead BI platforms at Jetsetter for 4 years.
Melissa Rush – Brand Marketing Manager & Resident music DJ – Handles the business development and marketing efforts.
Hicham Elghourfi – Client-end Technologies — With more than 8 years of experience, Hicham creates world-class client end products.
Prakash Ghodke – UI/UX – One of the top 1% designers in India.
Zachary Gian – Business Development Intern and University Ambassador – Handles the affiliate program across the US
Robert Khedouri — Advisor – Founder, Music Gremlin – Sold his company to Sandisk.
Drew Patterson – Advisor – Founder of Kayak and Jetsetter
John Pavley – Mentor – Senior Vice President at viacom. Worked in leadership roles at Spotify and Apple(iTunes) before.
How do you see your company creating value or disrupting an existing market?
Jukebox and background music industries are very old and antiquated. We are bringing innovation to this space by developing Jukebox 2.0. To give a little context, it all started with simple concept of giving people control over the music they listen to in any social setting with a simple touch. The way we are doing it, is by providing an interactive music service that directly engages customers and venues creating exciting experiences.
Music is becoming core part of consumer experience whether its a bar, restaurant, coffee shop or even in a gym and the tools venues use to manage the music desperately needs some innovation. We are addressing this by making it easy for venues to host a jukebox, and patrons to play their favorite music right from their smartphones. Simply put, a smartphone based social jukebox.
When was the business founded and how are you being funded?
Our business was founded in Aug 2014. We raised a friends & family round and are in the process of raising seed-round.
What is the current size of your business, number of employees?
We are a team of 8, including contractors.
If you are seeking further funding, how much and for what purpose will the new funds be applied?
We are raising 450K (of which 250K is committed). Ideally, we are looking for someone who understands the music industry. Proceeds from raise will be used for expanding marketing & sales distribution, broadening mobile presence, and music licensing.
What is the product and or service you are providing?
Jukebox.io – provides an interactive music solution that directly engages customers and venues creating exciting experiences.
Website — www.jukebox.io
Explainer video — www.jukebox.io/affiliates/explainervideo
Venue app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jukebox.io-business-bring/id973053129?mt=8
Member app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jukebox.io-bring-your-own/id928327605?mt=8
Explain how you are seeking entry into your marketplace.
After the initial alpha launch in Jan 2015, within the first few months we were fortunate to capture the initial interest of multiple chains and 50 small & medium businesses. We started off with field marketing, knocking on the doors one venue at a time zip code by zip code. Going forward, we want to focus on chains, building strategic partnerships, SEO, and referral programs.
What seems to be the biggest strength of the team so far?
Our team is based in NYC, which is a great place for any music startup to be part of and we are a passionate bunch who understand music, design, and data.
What was your greatest “Ah-Ha” moment to date?
We started our product focusing on members first. But later we figured that until we have enough venues signed up and promoting us, we are not going to appeal to wider audience. When we started focusing on the actual needs of venues, everything started to fall into place, which was a very big ah-ha moment for Jukebox.io.
What was the funniest thing that has happened?
When we were participating at The Web Summit — Dublin, our CEO had an opportunity to rap about Jukebox.io. It’s pretty damn funny and dope. Check it out — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EpGNjyfDUo
If you can only do one thing in your industry what would that be?
To make Jukebox.io synonymous to music.