Techpitch 4.5 is a well run and reliable source of new startup talent.  Today, I went to see them take their offering west, beyond the conventional ‘tech city’ boundaries, and into the West London home of EMI.  Here, they hosted the MUSIC techpitch event. 

I’ve seen a wide range of music startups over the last few years, showing that London is a hotbed of innovation in this space.  TechPitch 4.5 has always been a leading brand for the music webtech startups of London.

One of the key advantages of this event is the range of startups on offer.  With 8 presenting, even the choosiest investor is likely to see something of interest.

Here are my personal highlights from the event:

Dizzyjam – Neil Cocker
Ever heard of Lulu?  This print-on-demand service allows anyone and everyone to become a print authour.  Dizzyjam do this for merchandise, allowing over 2000 bands (including top 10 artists) to sell T-shirts, hoodies and other ‘stuff’, including downloads.  This startup shows clearly that bootstrapping can allow a firm to grow to an influential and worthwhile stage.  This got my vote, for the clear and simple revenue model.

Hitlantis – Timo Poijarvi
If you’re pitching in a crowded space, you need to get it right. Hitlantis didn’t. Will they sink beneath the waves? Social network mapping for bands has been tried before, and Hitlantis didn’t differentiate effectively during their pitch.  I’m unclear on the viability of this firm’s business model, which seems to rely on artist subscriptions in a freemium model.

Hooolp – Manne Pokrandt Peter guggi
This impossible-to-pronounce app is designed to interrogate your music library and pull up a list of gigs by the artists you’re interested in.  A useful idea, potentially – and with the benefit of a clear revenue opportunity.

Mobile Backstage – Paavo Backman
Think of twitter, but with video.  Fans can follow artists, and see original ‘backstage’ content.  So if you’re keen to see your favorite bands and artists in their ‘private moments’ (and possibly engaged in compromising activities), you can check the posts from major acts such as Tinie Tempah. This service allows revenue streams from pay-to-use for labels and acts, but also allows direct revenue collection opportunities through pay-to-view and affiliate sales from the content streams. It’s a good way to monetise content that people are clearly gagging for, so it seems a sustainable model.

Isophonice – Panos Kudumakis
A pitch as incomprehensible as a lecture in Russian about quantum physics. Just because you understand your startup, doesn’t mean anyone else can. Pitch to a ten year old for practice!

Seevl – Alexandre Passant
This music discovery YouTube plugin for Chrome pulls data on artists and makes suggestions.  The panel criticised the model for possible legal issues resulting from manipulating web pages.  However, this is a novel idea, solving a real problem Is this an early-stage of a new website-modification explosion? Apparently the technology is already in general use, but I’ve not come across it.

Webdoc – Olivier de Simone
Webdoc offers multimedia drag-and-drop blogging.  This allows even the tech-clumsy to add images, music, etc. to posts, forming a rich-media version of twitter, but without the time-consuming and wordy format of a conventional blog. Doubling every 3 months, this product shows clear signs of virality, and is therefore likely to be very investable.  There are already 20,000 content creators, which shows considerable traction.  This refreshing approach to blogging won both the audience and the judges award.

Whilst the startups are obviously the main dish, the panel and speakers also contribute.  Keynote speaker Jim Brady, EVP Strategy and Insight (whatever that means), gave a somewhat slow keynote – but nevertheless one which showed how EMI uses personas.  Personas are a very convenient tool for grouping customer behaviour into recognisable, albeit imaginary, people.  If you’re not using them, one word of advice – start!  Another ‘good practice’ technique was their practice of segmenting consumer groups. This was a Horlicks keynote – full of nutrition, but liable to induce sleep.

The panel included Charles Grimsdale from Eden, Danvers Baillieu from Bootlaw, and Spencer Hyman, who co-founded last.fm.

Well attended, well run, and with a good selection of startups, Techpitch 4.5 events are always a highlight of the startup scene.