Press Clipping

Universal Music Group eschews venture capital investments, preferring to offer seed money, mentoring and other support for startups. The company has gotten behind two health-related music apps: Endel, which creates personalized AI-generated soundscapes to foster focus and sleep, and Music Health, the company behind Vera, which is designed to help those suffering from dementia, as well as next-generation radio broadcasting toolkit Super-HiFi. UMG senior vp of digital innovation strategy and business development Kristen Bender said in a statement that the company’s “music DNA — incubation, connectivity, mentorship [and] strategic partner network — is the greatest asset we can provide early-stage companies.”

Naoki Osada
CEO, Avex USA; founder, Future of Music Fund
Recent investments: Wave, Endel, Liminal Space, Strangeloop Studios
Interests: Metaverse, 3D, live experiences, virtual artists, music production tools

When he’s not running label and publishing operations at Avex USA, the thriving American outpost of the Japanese entertainment company, Osada is vetting emerging companies to invest in through Avex USA’s corporate venture capital division. Called the Future of Music Fund, Osada says he invests “in a selective, boutique way” in companies he feels build “immersive multisensory experiences of music” — like Endel’s personalized soundscapes that promote relaxation and Wave’s high-tech virtual concert production tools. So far, the fund has invested about $5 million and has now expanded to $25 million “based on the past successes.” Still, Osada notes that due to saturation in the market, he doesn’t “see quite as many mind-blowing early-stage companies these days as five years ago.”

Bob Moczydlowsky
Managing director, Techstars Music
Recent investments: Endel, Triller, Tribe XR, Strangeloop Studios, Amper Music
Interests: Streaming, music production tools, AI

As the managing director for premier music technology accelerator Techstars Music, Moczydlowsky facilitated 70 pre-seed investments in startups like Endel, Community, Triller and Tribe XR for a total of $8.2 million during the existence of the program that started in 2017 and ended this year. Techstars connected founders not just with money but with mentors from many of the other investors and companies mentioned on this list, including Sony Music Entertainment, HYBE and Warner Music Group. “I invest at the earliest possible stage,” Moczydlowsky explains. “So 90% of my process is about the team … At the early stage, what matters are the people and their passion for the market and the problem.”