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:

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