A detailed portrait on Stuttgart’s start-up platform VentureZphere
It has been a while since we met Andreas Stadie from Stuttgart Financial at a VC pitch in Germany’s Motor City. Andreas is responsible for VentureZphere, an online platform for innovative entrepreneurs, investors, and corporates. It was launched by Stuttgart Financial in close cooperation with Boerse Stuttgart, and is co-funded and greatly promoted by the Ministry of Economics of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Of course, we are very happy to be the startup of the month in July. If you don’t know the platform yet, you can create a profile here to become a part of the network and profit from it. We highly recommend it.
Have a nice weekend, surely with music or?
Groovecat as part of the UNESCO City of Music Mannheim With Josh only one-third of our team is from Mannheim, but nevertheless, the city has a very firm place in all our hearts. Not only because it is the birthplace and stronghold of Groovecat, but because we would never be where we are today without the help of the entire Mannheim-based actors such as the Creative Commission, Startup Mannheim, Matthias Rauch or Sonja Wilkens, the Popakademie and their unique students. The great article by Tobi Breier, with whom we almost never wanted to stop exchanging, tells about our beginnings, our visions, our team and the connection between Mannheim and Groovecat. Julia Kleiner and Nadja Capellmann from Stadtmarketing Mannheim and responsible for the whole issue of the Stadtmagazin Mannheim, also made sure that we got our first real photo shoot. Here you can go directly to the innovative online version of the full issue, finally print is no longer mirrored one to one. Thank you Mannheim, we really love you.
Wow, we’re going to New York in December!!
Last week we were invited to the STEP USA Alumni Party of the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc., where PWC announced a pitch competition and offered the winner a place in the STEPA USA program. In the Stuttgart premises of PWC, we pitched against five other startups and brought the thing home. We are still thrilled to fly to New York for a week in December, meet investors, pitch Groovecat and place our first footprint on the other side of the Atlantic. Christmas shopping included…
We hope to get the cat visa.
Our Business Angel Dr. Andrea Kranzer celebrating with us
What a beautiful headline: “Our third product is the first to work”
Jakob had a chat with Alexander Hüsing from ‘Deutsche Startups’ about Groovecat and our recent developments. Nothing would be better than that, because we were able to go a bit more into detail in the interview. If you like to check it out, click here to read the whole interview. As it is in German, we provide you with a translation below ♥
Enjoy the read.
Which problem do you want to solve with Groovecat?
With our approach we solve a fundamental problem in musicological research and the commercial use of music: that one does not know which individual emotion a piece of music triggers in combination with a certain situation. That’s why the choice of music, for example in commercials or films, is nowadays still very cumbersome, expensive and, of course, associated with a great deal of uncertainty. We solve these problems in music selection in the B2B area with a new categorization of music via our B2C app Groovecat, with which our users can capture their music moments: this feeling when the music you are listening to fits perfectly to the situation you are currently in.
How exactly does this work?
Whenever our Groovecat user has such a musical moment, he can simply record a video of his moment in Groovecat, which is then automatically connected to the currently playing music from his streaming service or the environment. Other users can see and listen to these music moments and also save the songs directly in their streaming service. We are therefore an alternative, audiovisual social network for discovering and sharing musical moments. As an additional benefit, musicians and music labels can monetize their own music directly, because every shared musical moment automatically generates plays on the streaming service of the individual user.
Every week dozens of new start-ups are created, why is Groovecat a success?
We have been at the start as a team for over two years and have founded our company from our Master’s degree at the Popakademie in Mannheim. We had the chance to grow organically, in which the Popakademie and Mannheim as the founding city with its various players such as Startup Mannheim, the Creative Commission and the Economic Development Agency played a major role. We got a lot of support right from the start. I also believe because we have always been good at communicating that we really mean business. That we don’t just start up to tinker around in the start-up world, but because we really believe from the bottom of our hearts in what we do. But of course we also experienced at first hand how difficult it is to be a music startup in Germany and how much headwind you get. We also had our lows and buried ideas and dreams in order to grow out of them anew. It is our third product and the first one that really works.
Which projects have you implemented before?
Our first iOS prototype showed users what music people around you are listening to and should encourage social interaction. We tested the proto and were unable to validate the idea. Then followed the pivot to music moments – early 2017 – for which we created an Android MVP, only with photos. Didn’t validate either. Our third product, the iOS version of Groovecat with videos, finally generates KPIs that completely exceed our expectations.
How exactly does your business model work?
The musical moments help us to understand which music evokes certain emotions and thus also actions in different situations. We make these insights available for businesses of all kinds. That doesn’t mean we’re gonna tell them User Michael Müller likes to listen to Bushido at the subway station. Rather, the song’Heartbeat’ by Zola Blood would have fitted the advertising situation of the new Mercedes A-Class spot better than the one they chose. The application examples for this are naturally manifold, from in-store music to games, films, music research and medicine to music branding. Our first customers will be music consultants who can use our tool to support their work and justification to the customer.
Where does Groovecat stand in one year?
Ideally, in one year we have already left our first footprints on the American market and created a Groovecat community with which our users identify. Music should also be the core of Groovecat in one year. Starting next year, we also want to earn our first sales with our B2B tool for music selection, but at the same time offer this data to the user so that he can filter, for example: Hey, I’m standing on the beach in Thailand right now and I’m super happy, but I don’t know what to hear, please suggest something, Groovecat.
The future of the music industry as a focal point of the new Berlin Valley – with Groovecat on board
In the 29th issue of the startup magazine Berlin Valley, a whole section focuses on the future of the music industry. We are very happy to be included as one of the whole forward-looking projects and music start-ups, alongside Uberchord, Gigmit, and Native Instruments. We warmly recommend the whole issue and we feel fancy to share a page with Ed Sheeran, blush. Click here to read the full issue.
Our Co-Founder and CTO Josh and beloved developer Laurin met for an interview with STARTUP MANNHEIM and talked about Groovecat, Mannheim and our recent funding. Just click here for the full interview and enjoy the read.
Never heard of STARTUP MANNHEIM? You should! It is the umbrella brand of the City of Manheim’s start-up support. Via this central communication channel, it informs business founders and investors from Germany and all over the world about the latest developments in the Startup-City Mannheim.
Behind the STARTUP MANNHEIM brand is mg:gmbh, a subsidiary of the city. Their central mission is to establish and promote innovative, digital and disruptive start-ups permanently in Mannheim.
Mannheim, 8 May 2018. The investment fund Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH and Business Angel Dr. Andrea Kranzer are investing a six-figure sum in Groovecat. The music-tech spin-off from the Popakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg and participant of the worldwide unique Music WorX Accelerator develops the app for Music Moments. When users record a video in Groovecat, it is automatically underlaid with the music they are currently playing, thus creating the “Soundtrack of your Life”.
With Groovecat, the founders Jakob Höflich, Markus Schwarzer and Joshua Weikert develop the platform for Music Moments with which they have won the Music WorX Pitch, the CyberOne Special Prize of bigFM and the BW goes Mobile award, among others. The app automatically combines any recorded video with the music currently playing on the streaming service or in the user’s environment. In this way, those moments can be captured which only gain in importance through music and which are always associated with the piece of music from now on: Music Moments.
Groovecat strives to revolutionize the situational musical experience and develop a musician-friendly social media in which artists can directly monetize their followers.
“We bring the new technical possibilities of music streaming into a format that is fun on the one hand and beneficial to the music industry on the other – every shared Music Moment automatically generates plays for artists and labels,” explains Markus Schwarzer, CEO of Groovecat.
The investment fund Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH and Business Angel Dr. Andrea Kranzer invest a six-figure sum in Groovecat.
The innovative business model of Groovecat convinced the investors above all. For the first time, pieces of music can be emotionally categorized based on the user-generated content of Music Moments. The vision is to support music selection in the areas of advertising, film and video games via artificial intelligence that provides customers with the right music for an advertising or film situation within seconds.
“The founding team has identified a clear problem in the B2B area that it solves using an innovative B2C approach. This clever combination of the new possibilities in the music streaming market convinced us to invest in Groovecat“, says Mrs. Verena Eisenlohr, Managing Director of investment fund Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH.
“I am particularly pleased that Groovecat as an innovative startup has emerged from the synergy between creative industries and technology. This fits in with Mannheim as the ,UNESCO City of Musicʻ and hotspot for startups in Baden-Wuerttemberg“, adds Michael Grötsch, Economic Mayor and Chairman of the Investment Committee.
Background to Groovecat
Groovecat was founded in 2016 by Jakob Höflich, Markus Schwarzer and Joshua Weikert at the Popakademie Baden Wuerttemberg, from which several stars emerged such as Alice Merton, Joris and sock startup von Jungfeld. The founding team has already been on stage at the world’s largest music fair, the South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin and the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. For the app launch, it is supported by bigFM, one of the largest private radio stations in Germany.
The idea for Groovecat came to the three founders in their Master’s programme because, as music lovers, they always linked certain situations in life with music. But especially on her travels – at that time still equipped with digital camera and iPod – there was no possibility to capture these moments. When they found out that Markus’ economics, Jakobs’ communications and Joshuas’ IT background complement each other perfectly, the foundation stone for the startup was laid.
Background to investment fund Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH
The investment fund Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH supports technology-oriented and creative start-ups with equity capital so that they can grow and increase their enterprise value. The portfolio includes Opasca, CloudRail, Monomer and von Jungfeld. For the first time, the investment fund Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH sold its stake in a subsidised company – OPAL Analytics GmbH – at a profit and reinvested the proceeds generated in Groovecat, among others.
The investment fund Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH was founded in December 2011 and has a total budget of 1.65 million Euro. Of this amount, 50 percent was made available by the European Union as part of its “Regional Competitiveness and Employment” funding programme – part of the ERDF in Baden-Wuerttemberg 2007-2013. The state of Baden-Wuerttemberg holds 17.5 percent and the city of Mannheim 32.5 percent.
Groovecat can already be downloaded from the App Store and is initially only accessible with an invitation code. In August Groovecat will be available for public download on both iOS and Android.
Head Office Mannheim
elceedee UG (haftungsbeschränkt)
Badenweiler Straße 4
Axel Springer Mediahouse GmbH
c/o The Venue Berlin
On 24 and 25 April, the Popakademie was turned upside down again when the Future Music Camp took place. On two full, long and exciting days, there were keynotes with the focus on “Live Music Industry”, workshops, drinks, snacks and many interesting sessions.
On the second day, we gave the session “VERO – Digital Change in Social Media?“. There we wanted to investigate the hyped ascent and rapid descent of VERO and were very happy about the lively participation and interesting discussions.
Thanks to all the people behind the Future Music Camp, that was great and we are already looking forward to next year.
We also got a looot of feedback for our beta version. True Popakademie support.
So, back to work now.
With our new developer Laurin on board, we could gain a lot of momentum in the last months and finished the iOS beta of Groovecat. Yesterday the beta release took place at the Popakademie in Mannheim, the nucleus of Groovecat. For 8 weeks we will test our beta at the Popakademie and improve the app together with the students and develop new features for artists and musicians. We are supported by our super strong student team on site.
To be honest, we are damn glad to have come this far and continue digging in to get Groovecat on the road as soon as possible. Next step: Future Music Camp, hope to see you there!
We’ll keep you posted, thanks for the support.
It was an after work session (still freezing cold by that time) in our Berlin office The Venue Berlin when we talked to Tina about the possibility of a student project. I don’t know if you know, but Groovecat was created as part of a student project in our master’s program at the Popakademie. In this respect, the Popakademie is rooted in our DNA and we are all the more pleased to be implementing our first student project as an “external project provider”.
Yesterday was our kick-off event with the music business students Charis, Sarah, Verena and David. We sat down intensively for 3 hours, talked a lot, discussed a lot and thought creatively. What this project is about, we will tell you a little later;). It doesn’t always have to be everything at once.
# Peace out, life’s good