What’s going on with music tech funding?

I find it interesting to see what’s going on with music tech funding and how different ideas and prototypes get funding or don’t. So the last few weeks and months has had some quite unusual and telling developments. 
Let’s start with Skoog. Their original campaign didn’t make its rather high target of around £75k. That’s not unusual at all. Whist the regular media like to tell us stories of how well some campaigns do it doesn’t tell you the whole story of how only around 45% of crowdfunding campaigns actually make their goals. That may or may not come as a shock to you. But lots of campaigns just don’t make it for a variety of reasons. That’s probably a reason for a whole other post though. 
But of course crowdfunding is just one part of the picture. Lots of hardware gets funded through lots of other routes. In fact Skoog is also a good example of that too. After their first attempt on indiegogo failed they managed to secure further investment from their previous non Crowdfunding backers which allowed them to run another indiegogo campaign. This time around it was successful.  Why? Good question. Perhaps a lower raise was what helped? I’m not sure, but it did work the second time around.
But again that’s only part of the story. Music tech has never been the easiest thing to fund and investors aren’t always convinced of the viability of innovation. So enter the music bricks programme which is part of music tech fest. A now almost global event which brings together all kinds of different music makers and technologists. 
Music bricks is part European funded and part funded by a business angel network too. It’s trying to bring research out of academia and into the hands of hackers and music makers. In general I think it’s a good idea. 
So, there are lots of different options is you want to fund your idea or project. That’s good right? Yes, to an extent it is. But the question remains, should you take any of these routes, should you mix and match, and most importantly, what’s best for your project?
What I keep coming back to is this simple question around whether or not you should take one of the vast array of different options for funding, and I’m reminded of something that Paul Soulsby said to me when I interviewed him. Paul decided not to use any of these options. I’m sure he could have taken to Kickstarter or indiegogo to crowdfund his synth. I’m sure he wouldn’t have had any trouble in raising the money. But he didn’t. He decided that he wanted his synth to stand on its own. He wanted Soulsby Synths to be a synth making company. Not a startup, not a Crowdfunding project. Just a regular synth company. 
There is quite a lot to be said for that in my opinion. There’s a lot to be said for just making something and seeing if people buy it. Not buy into the idea, but buy the actual finished product. I’m coming around to this idea fairly firmly myself now. 
So there are lots of ways to get your product out there. VC or angel funding or crowdfunding isn’t always the best idea and none of these is by any means an easy option. Developing these finance routes takes time and hard work. But it is worth considering thinking about just doing it yourself. It might mean risking more of your own cash but you’ll probably have to do that anyway whichever route you take. 
So what my conclusion? Well it isn’t that simple as you can guess from what’s gone before. But I suppose that the main take away from this is that you should really carefully consider your options and their implications before taking any route to funding or to launch. Model your options and work out what’s going to be best for you. If you’re not comfortable with it, then perhaps it isn’t the right option after all.

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