Brian Wentzloff is part musician, part developer, all entrepreneur and he happens to live in Memphis Tennessee.
A few years back he was working with Cardinal Health, a multifaceted organization that supports a variety of health care providers like doctors offices, pharmacies and hospitals. Wentzloff was a consultant that specialized in application development which is at the core of the tools Cardinal Health provides for it’s clients.
Cardinal Health had office space at the Emerge Memphis Incubator, which is where Wentzloff met Eric Mathews the former Director of Emerge. Mathews has been a startup champion, supporter and organizer since before it was cool to be in the startup space.l Segueing from a position at the Fedex Institute Of Technology, to creating his own startup support organization Launch Memphis (at the time) Mathews’ startup was creating startups. As part of his program offerings Mathews created the Seed Hatchery general tech accelerator, just about bootstrapping that as well, and raising just enough money to seed companies in their cohort based, immersive, accelerator.
With all these cool startup people and entrepreneurs going in and out of the Emerge Memphis building Wentzloff decided that he and some friends were going to make an attempt of an idea they had to create a cloud based platform for collaborating on music remotely.Yes, it’s hard to believe this hadn’t been done before.
Wentzloff wanted to create a tool that would allow a friend of his in Los Angeles to lay down a drum track, while a friend of his in Chicago could lay down a bass guitar track and he could add in the guitar track from Memphis. But more important than the collaboration itself, is the fact that all three friends used different DAW systems or Digital Audio Workstations.
Although this idea was outside the general scope of ideas that other accelerators had taken on, Memphis is the Rock and Roll capital of the world and it made perfect sense that the next generation of musical tools could be born right in Memphis. Through the Seed Hatchery program Wentzloff’s company, Musistic, got seed funding, mentorship and programming that helped the creative developer and his team acquire some important business savvy.
Musistic graduated from the Seed Hatchery program in the summer of 2013, just as Mathews was pivoting from the name Launch Memphis to Start Co. But the journey between Musistic and Start Co didn’t stop at demo day, that’s when it actually began. Now, a year and a half later he still works with Start Co on a regular basis. Start Co helped Musistic raise a follow on round and they were able to set him up with Jimbo Lattimore who now serves as the company’s CEO.
“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Start Co” Wenztloff said in an interview at this year’s SXSW trade show. Earlier this year Musistic was at the NAMM show in Los Angeles attracting a lot of new customers.
“We’ve got thousands of user’s now, and we have our second release available now”. Wentzloff said. “We’re working on a platform that allows musicians that they can collaborate with on the platform, later this year”.
Start Co was instrumental (see what I did there) at helping Musistic figure out their exact fit with the industry and hash out a pricing plan. “The first project is free and then it’s just $10 per month” Wentzloff said.
StartCo is gearing up for their second summer of innovation, which is their program where they run three accelerators simultaneously and then graduate them in one big, very well attended Demo Day later this summer. Wentzloff is looking forward to continuing his journey and helping other entrepreneurs with theirs. Lattimore is equally as excited. “I spent years in the corporate world until I met Mathews, I’ve been a mentor and a turn around specialist and we all decided together that Musistic was the perfect fit for my career”.
Start Co continues a rapid expansion, adding more square footage to their downtown Memphis location just in time for the 2015 summer of innovation.