University Startups Head to Silicon Valley for Real Startup 2018 Accelerator Program

Real Startup, Real Industry’s two-week accelerator program for university-based startup ventures focusing on media, entertainment, music, and technology, kicks off on June 18th in San Francisco. Teams experience a jam-packed schedule of mentorship and education from professionals at Dolby, Google, Pandora, Eventbrite, and many more. By leveraging Real Industry’s rich network of professionals in this niche sector of innovation, Real Startup accelerates the careers of young entrepreneurs.

Our 2018 Cohort includes five teams hailing from New York University, University of Southern California, Tufts University, Purdue University, McGill University, Malmö University, and the University of Iceland. These startups were selected from a pool of over 100 applications from across the globe. This cohort consists of teams working on ventures in various areas of media and technology, including innovations in live ticketing, AR/VR for concerts, wearables for creative expression and performance, mobile music creation apps, and media distribution platforms for cultural institutions.

Throughout the two week program, teams receive direct access to Real Industry’s network of corporate partners and over 300 expert mentors. Our 2018 schedule includes sessions with companies leading the way in industry-altering developments. We appreciate the support from all of our amazing hosts. With exposure to these organizations, plus the connections made with our fantastic community of mentors, teams complete the program with unparalleled professional networks. 

Check out what two of our mentors from Pandora and Pyramind had to say:

“Mentorship is an incredible way for students hoping to enter the industry to start building their network. My own mentors have been immensely helpful in shaping my career so far, and their support and guidance continue to help me become a better professional and person. A great entrepreneurial spirit has always been alive at Pandora, and we’re proud to support the brilliant young minds that Real Startup is introducing to the world of music tech.”
— Heather Ellis, Artist Marketing Manager at Pandora
“Pyramind is excited to host Real Industry’s Real Startup 2018 Cohort as part of their two week accelerator program...At the core of Pyramind’s music production training ethos is the connection between real-world experience and the value that mentorship provides in bridging the gap between education in the classroom and the professional workplace. Pyramind’s over fifteen-year history in music education and production was built on this dynamic equation and we value greatly our partnership with Real Industries and what we believe is the future of education and entrepreneurship.”
— Gregory J. Gordon, CEO and Founder at Pyramind

As we gear up for a phenomenal experience, we want to express our gratitude to our major corporate sponsors: LANDR, Reverb, Stashimi, iZotope, Pro Sound Effects, New York University Steinhardt, Jaunt, and Polsinelli. Real Startup is additionally funded through a philanthropic grant from Olivann. Without the generous contributions of these organizations, we would not be able to reach the level of impact we strive for through the Real Startup program.

Stashimi was a founding sponsor of Real Startup back in 2017, and we’re happy to continue supporting the student accelerator program for the second year in a row, as we believe experiential education and mentorship is invaluable in the music and tech industries.”
— Kosta Elchev, Chief Marketing Officer at Stashimi

Not in the San Francisco Bay Area? You don’t need to miss out on all the fun! We will be posting regularly to the Real Startup 2018 Facebook Group throughout the program. We invite you to join the conversation, see updates from the teams, and share your own thoughts on the interesting crossroad of media technology and entrepreneurship. The Livestream link to the final presentations from each of the 5 teams, taking place on June 29th, will be available within this group and on Real Industry’s Facebook page by June 22nd.

Real Industry aims to bridge the worlds of industry and academia. Our community is always growing, and we’d love for you to be a part of it. Join us today.

Stanford Pandora Challenge with Common & Imagine Justice

On Thursday, April 19th about 100 Stanford students came together for a kickoff event in Partnership with Common and Imagine Justice to inspire young people to rally around the message and vision of Imagine Justice, focusing on Justice Reform, Community & Civic Engagement. 

The assignment is to create, launch, market, and optimize a national playlist that drives awareness of Imagine Justice. The playlists will include voice messages that educate listeners about one of the above messages. The students have five weeks to grow their listenership and influence their audience to become activated in the conversation around Justice Reform and Community and Civic Engagement. These students will be the first to use Pandora's new mixtape platform. 

Check back soon to experience the student's mixtapes and see how the challenge wraps up. 

University of Washington Sonos Challenge

November 16, 2017  |  In partnership with University of Washington Department of Electrical Engineering. #SonosChallenge

Sonos and Real Industry are transforming how university students prepare for industry. Smart speakers are transforming how we enjoy music, access information, and interact with our homes. This month, over 200 University of Washington students had the unique opportunity to work with leaders from Sonos in a design challenge to build a new smart speaker experience that improves someone’s daily life.

“There is a synergistic belief that great opportunity exists at the intersection of technology and music. Both Real Industry and Sonos sought to play at this intersection, and believe that upcoming grads will drive the future in this space.”
— Susan Monaghan, Director of University Programs, Sonos

Organized by Real Industry, Sonos, and hosted by University of Washington Electrical Engineering, the event kicked off on November 16th. University of Washington student teams met with industry experts from Sonos to learn more about the design challenge, and then had 10 days to develop a working prototype. Winning teams were awarded Sonos One speakers and given invitations to interview for full-time and internship positions at Sonos.

“There is a surprising amount of technical complexity within a seemingly simple smart speaker,” said Ron Kuper, SW Director, Advanced Concepts Lab, Sonos. “It’s a problem space that touches a broad spectrum of hardware and software domains, so there’s bound to be something for everyone."  

“The massively growing smart home and smart speaker market is the perfect opportunity for young engineers and innovators to gain valuable skills” said Priyanka Shekar, Program Director, Real Industry.

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The winners of Sonos One speakers were:

Sound Transition - a solution that automatically transitions between Sonos speakers as a listener transitions between rooms. 
Akshay Randad - Engineering (Mechanical Engineering)
Abdullah Othman - Electrical Engineering
Akshay Chalana - Computer Science/2019
Ashwin Badrinath - Electrical Engineering/2019
Shipra Gupta - Information Management/2018

Beamforming - a system to allow 2 listeners, in the same room, to listen at different volume levels. 
Colin Pate - Electrical Engineering/2019
Muhammad Farooq - Electrical Engineering/2019
Dhanush Kannagola - Electrical Engineering/2019
Jordan Drew - Electrical Engineering/2019
Glenn Paden - Electrical Engineering/2019

An Intelligent Speaker That Can Recognize Your Voice - adds functionality to identify the which person is controlling the Sonos system.
Alvin Cao - Electrical Engineering
Ege Gurmericliler - Computer Science & Engineering, Graduate Visiting
Emilien Pilloud - Computer Science & Engineering, Graduate Visiting


EXAmple Student Submissions

Real Startup 2017

May 31, 2017

How Real Startup is Cultivating Student Startups and Building a Bridge to Innovation

Experiencing the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) Listening Room’s 3D immersive environment with 22 speakers positioned from ceiling to below floor at Stanford University.

Discovering headset prototypes and discussing trends in consumer audio with Richard Kulavik, CTO of Turtle Beach at the San Jose R&D office.

This summer, four teams traveled to Silicon Valley’s hotbed for music and audio technology innovation with their own original startup ideas including automatic volume safety technology and artist merchandise repurposing. Participants came from Stanford University, UC Berkeley and Berklee College of Music to receive industry mentoring, challenge one another’s assumptions, and expand their audio technology networks. As members of Real Startup’s inaugural cohort of startups, they spent the month of September developing their products and business models with the mentorship of industry experts from Sennheiser, XPERI (previously DTS), Dolby Laboratories, Turtle Beach, Warner Music Group, Zeitgeist Artist Management, and founding industry partners Universal Audio, iZotope, LANDR and Stashimi

How Real Startup works

Real Startup teaches university students how to apply their classroom learning to entrepreneurship in the music and audio technology industry. Describing his experience, Yuval Adler, program participant and CEO of SterIO said, "interacting with industry partners gave me a more mature view of the opportunities and challenges in going forward with a new business venture.” 

Demoing a new 3D immersive audio for VR in Sennheiser San Francisco’s in-house studio with Sebastian Chafe, Strategic Innovation Manager.

Students participated in workshops, site visits, and ran customer interviews with industry, while learning about subjects such as business model design, 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 the new 2017 Real Startup class of music tech innovators!

A private tour of Studio 610, a modern production studio with classic vintage studio hardware at Universal Audio’s HQ in Scotts Valley.

Universal Audio CEO Bill Putnam shows a sample from the studio construction - the architectural design is both acoustically and aesthetically aware.

Real Startup is the first-of-its-kind -- launched in 2017 by Jay LeBoeuf and Priyanka Shekar, as an initiative of Real Industry. The program provides structure and process to the best and brightest entrepreneurial teams from top university music, media, entertainment and technology programs, to commercialize their ideas and expand their professional networks. Students received mentorship from the program’s network of almost 200 industry mentors including industry veterans. "The teams rolled up their sleeves and applied feedback immediately, it was like watching a business transformation happen in hours rather than months." said mentor Dave Hill Jr., Go 2 Market Coach (previously Director at Ableton, VP of Sales and Marketing, iZotope).

  • String Theory Labs (Stanford University, UC Berkeley): 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 (Stanford University): 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 (Stanford University): Uses psycho-acoustics 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.

  • Between the Dimensions (Berklee College of Music): Audio-visual production house creating interactive and experiential art installations that translate new scientific insight into artistic expressions that are intriguing and immersive.
 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)

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)

The challenging three-weeks program culminated in teams gaining support from a group of industry executives and connectors in a private showcase event. Leading up to their pitch test, the teams had met with a diverse range of over 70 customers and mentors. They are now poised with focused business plans, skills, and networks to be able to successfully grow on their own. Learn more about the program at: realindustry.org/rs/overview/

Fast Facts

  • First-of-its-kind program, supporting next-generation entrepreneurs in the music and audio tech industry.

  • Four university student groups came to Silicon Valley to work on their startups alongside industry-leading music and audio tech companies and mentors.

  • Teams included engineers, researchers, musicians, and designers from top schools Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and Berklee College of Music.

  • Teams participated in hands-on workshops, company site visits, customer interviews, skillbuilding, and inspirational talks to foster industry understanding and catalyze their startups.

  • Mentorship by a unique network of almost 200 industry experts and executives including Mike Herring (ex-President & CFO of Pandora), Bill Putnam (CEO of Universal Audio), and Jeff Riedmiller (VP, Sound Group at Dolby Labs).
 

Introducing startups to a group of passionate industry leaders who can support their next phase of development at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University

 
 Real Startup Founding Sponsors

Real Startup Founding Sponsors

Tufts University Sonos Challenge

September 28, 2017  |  In partnership with Tufts Gordon Institute and Tufts Computer Science Exchange #sonoschallenge

Sonos and Real Industry are transforming how university students prepare for industry. Smart speakers are transforming how we enjoy music, access information, and interact with our homes. This Fall, over 250 students at Tufts University and University of Washington will prepare for careers and design smart speaker experiences to improve daily life. 

This month, over 100 Tufts students had the unique opportunity to work with leaders from Sonos in a design challenge to build a new smart speaker experience that improves someone’s daily life.

“We’re thrilled to work with Tufts students and our partners, because the next generation of technology leaders are here [at Tufts],” said Jay LeBoeuf, Executive Director, Real Industry. Sonos and Real Industry chose Tufts as a location for the challenge because of its strong interdisciplinary academic programs in engineering and entrepreneurship, and the potential for Tufts students to have an impact on the field.

Organized by Real Industry, Sonos, and hosted by Tufts Gordon Institute and Tufts Computer Science Exchange, the event kicked off on Sept. 28. Tufts University student teams met with industry experts from Sonos to learn more about the design challenge, and then had 10 days to develop a working prototype. Winners were awarded Sonos One speakers, invitations to attend the companies’ Sonos Hack Day at Sonos’ Boston office, and invitations to interview for full-time positions at Sonos.

Tufts students were the first university students to have access to the pre-release Sonos API. “There is a surprising amount of technical complexity within a seemingly simple smart speaker,” said Ron Kuper, SW Director, Advanced Concepts Lab, Sonos. “It’s a problem space that touches a broad spectrum of hardware and software domains, so there’s bound to be something for everyone."  

“The massively growing smart home and smart speaker market is the perfect opportunity for young engineers and innovators to gain valuable skills” said Priyanka Shekar, Program Director, Real Industry.

“There is a synergistic belief that great opportunity exists at the intersection of technology and music. Both Real Industry and Sonos sought to play at this intersection, and believe that upcoming grads will drive the future in this space.”
— Susan Monaghan, Director of University Programs, Sonos

The winners were:
·Bonker: iOS app that starts a music playlist playing on Sonos based on an input photo
Team: Ali Decker, BSEP ’18, Woody Shortridge, Human-Computer Interaction certificate ‘19
·Ultrasonic Tracker: Hardware system for adjusting playback based on user location
Team: Shadath Chowdhury, BSEE ’19, Harrison Downs, BSCS ’19, Davis Franklin, BS, Physics ’18, Chanel Richardson, BSCE ‘20
·Wake Up Remix: Software to play your wake up music in sync with your sleep cycle
Team: Hermes Suen, BSME ’19, Eric Chen, BSCS ’19, Fabio Vera, BSCS ’19, Zack Nassar, BSBME ’19, and Thomas Coons, BSME ’19.

Winners - Tufts Sonos Challenge Winners.png

Student Submissions

UMass Lowell Pandora Challenge (supporting Jack Antonoff)

October 21, 2017  |  In partnership with Jack Antonoff, The Ally Coalition, and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell Music Business and Sound Recording Technology programs. #pandorachallenge

Every year, Jack Antonoff and The Ally Coalition organize The Talent Show, a celebrity-packed  music and talent showcase, to benefit LGBTQ equality and issues. How might we create a series of fan engagements before, during, and after the event to allow The Talent Show to live on long after the performances? How might concert attendees at The Talent Show engage with their friends, fellow fans, and their communities before, during, and after the show? How might we engage Jack Antonoff's listeners, fanbase, and friendly artists? How might we engage fans, listeners, and friends to support The Ally Coalition?

To solve these problems, students were provided access to Jack Antonoff's proprietary Next Big Sound profile. Offered as part of by Pandora's Artist Marketing Platform tools, this interactive portal helped students learn about Jack's fanbase, social reach, engagement, geographical impact, and Pandora listener data. 

Students created marketing campaigns, Pandora Artist Audio Message, and strategies to engage Jack Antonoff's fans to be launched by The Ally Coalition.

Congrats to the winning team of Andrew Silveira (Biology 2021), Andrew Marshall (Music Studies 2021), Shaina Perates (Music Business 2021), Renee Lamy (Music Business 2021), Emma Glynn (Music 2018). Their proposal included a series of social media campaigns dispelling common
misconceptions about the LGBTQ, photo booths in the lobby, and hashtag campaigns during and immediately following the event.  

 Mentors from L-R: Kim Pfluger (iZotope), Brittany Holloway (Pandora), Heather Ellis (Pandora), Jeb Gutelius (The Ally Coaltion)

Mentors from L-R: Kim Pfluger (iZotope), Brittany Holloway (Pandora), Heather Ellis (Pandora), Jeb Gutelius (The Ally Coaltion)

 

Example Student Submissions

NYU Pandora Challenge (supporting Common)

October 11, 2017  |  In partnership with Common and the NYU Steinhardt Music Business program. #pandorachallenge

How might we engage Common's voice, music, platform and Common Ground Foundation to encourage wellness, mental health, and mindfulness in communities of color?

Between October 11-18, 2017, over 200 New York University students applied their knowledge of music business, marketing, and social impact towards this real-world challenge. 

Students worked to identify campaigns and activations meaningful to them and then proposed how Common, his fanbase, or his artist collective could achieve impact. To accomplish their work, students had access to real-world listener and fanbase analytics for Common, provided by Pandora's Next Big Sound. Tutorials on Next Big Sound and Pandora's Artist Marketing Platform were provided by Heather Ellis, Manager, Artist Marketing at Pandora.

“I am delighted to host the Pandora Challenge: Music and Social Impact at NYU Steinhardt,” said Larry Miller, director of the music business program. “We teach our students how to meld their passion for music with their desires for social impact, so this challenge, and Common’s participation, is a fantastic real-world opportunity for tomorrow’s music business leaders.”

“We’re excited to collaborate with some of NYU’s brightest minds to leverage the power of music and art to make a difference in the world and help others,” said Michael Latt, social impact advisor for Common. “Together, we have the opportunity to support our brothers and sisters around the country through a campaign that Common and I are really passionate about.”

The winning team submission ("#WellGrounded") centered on creating three local pop-up shows in May 2018 (Chicago, NYC, LA) featuring Common, one other A-list artist and local artists.
To attend, participants will perform one of three online actions:
1) Submit a ~150 word writeup on how mental health has affected them (through friends,
family, workplace, or personally) to an online database.
2) Go to one of our local wellness-oriented business partners (Chicago, NYC, LA) and post
their experience on social media (#WellGrounded).
3) Creatively express what mental health means to them (sketch, poem, song, video, etc.)
and post this to social media (#WellGrounded).

Based on the online actions, attendees at the show will see:
1) Common freestyle on select submissions, illustrating real-life stories.
2) Local wellness businesses set up activation stations (yoga studios, beauty products, skin
care, healthy food, etc.)
3) Submitted art pieces displayed on big-screens.

Congrats to Ada Bensadon, Whitney Dublin, Jason Joven, and Josh Viner, all NYU Music Business '18 students on their winning submission! 


Example Student Submissions

Middle Tennessee State University Pandora Challenge featuring Manchester Orchestra

October 9, 2017  |  In Partnership with Manchester Orchestra, 1 Million 4 Anna, and the Middle Tennessee State University Music Business Program. #pandorachallenge

How might Manchester Orchestra, their listeners, and fanbase support 1 Million 4 Anna?

Over 2 weeks, 160 MTSU students utilized music, data, technology and marketing to help the band Manchester Orchestra and the nonprofit 1 Million 4 Anna work together. This challenge was part of the Real Industry Pandora Challenge program, engaging the next-generation of leaders in music business and marketing to achieve social impact. 

Challenge participants had access to Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform (AMP), Next Big Sound and the 76 million monthly active listeners tuning into Pandora. They devised ways to leverage AMP and data from Next Big Sound to engage Pandora’s listeners and bring awareness to the fight against Ewing sarcoma in young people with the 1 Million 4 Anna Foundation, having real-world impact and influence.

I am honored that Real Industry chose MTSU students to participate in their program. It will provide our students with real-world experience and exposure to data and best practices that they might otherwise receive. In addition, this day will be special because Manchestra Orchestra is managed by Nashville’s Vector Management. One of our alums and former adjunct professor, Jon Romero, serves as Vector’s head of Digital Marketing and Strategy and will attend Monday’s event to help our students succeed in this challenge.
— Beverly Keel, Chair of MTSU Department of Recording Industry

In 2009, 16-year-old Anna Basso was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a bone and soft tissue cancer that primarily affects children and young adults. Her family created 1 Million 4 Anna in an attempt to heal her body and spirit. Family, friends and strangers alike pledged to pray for Anna every day at 12:12 p.m., resulting in more than 1 million prayers said in her name. Although Anna’s fight ended after 18 months, the foundation’s work carries on, as does Anna’s legacy.

Members of Manchester Orchestra were excited to have MTSU students working on social impact through music marketing.

The Basso family is basically the reason that I create music. It’s about so much more than vanity and ticket sales. It’s about being a part of something that is bigger than you can even comprehend. Helping people without ever knowing you were helping them. When that happens, those people actually help you.
— Andy Hull, lead singer, Manchester Orchestra

MTSU Recording Industry students work Monday, Oct. 9 2017, in the Student Union Ballroom on a social media marketing campaign on behalf of the music group Manchester Orchestra as part of the Pandora Challenge. The campaign will help the 1 Million 4 Anna Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting Ewing sarcoma and supported by the music group.

Example Student Submissions

Co-Creation in the Music Industry (Featuring Microsoft)

September 12, 2017, Los Angeles, CA

Real Industry's Executive Director, Jay LeBoeuf, worked with Microsoft to co-create a panel: Co-Creation in the Music Industry.

In this video, Jay LeBoeuf facilitates a discussion with Peter Gray, Greg Mertz, and Joe London to illustrate how the music industry connects creative resources to disrupt the status quo. This video is part of a broader body of work by Microsoft's Office Envisioning team and PopTech on the Changing World of Work.

Over the past six months, the Microsoft Office Envisioning team has been exploring how networks propel the co-creation of new value. This journey included conversations and interviews with more than 60 remarkable people who operate beyond the boundaries of traditional organizations – innovation officers, renowned professors, makers, artists, and engineers who create global communities, civic movements, new marketplace platforms and innovative products and services. And we found some surprising and enduring patterns – patterns of tension that cultivate creativity in networks!

Watch more content here: www.microsoft.com/futureofwork/