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ONLINE MARKETING

Lesson Plan: Making Money & Music

Elevator Pitch: Bandhappy connects music teachers with students seeking lessons. Will investors get in tune for $350,000?

I'm With the Band Co-founder Matt Halpern, a touring musician, developed Bandhappy to help musicians earn money while on the road.


Co-founders: Matt Halpern and Jonathan Rivlin

Location: Baltimore

Employees: Three

2012 projected revenue: $225,000

Launched: January 2012

Registered students: 10,000

Registered teachers: 400

Typical lesson cost: $40 to $50 an hour

Previous funding: $75,000 from angel investors; $75,000 convertible note from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation

Funding sought: $350,000
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The Pitch: "Musicians love making music, but most struggle to make a living doing what they love. And music students who wish to develop their skills and experiment with new instruments and genres quickly outgrow their local instructors. Bandhappy connects students and teachers. Our platform provides all the tools for musicians to schedule, teach, and get paid for live, online lessons with students anywhere on the planet via our custom video-chat interface. Our service also connects teachers and students for in-person lessons. Bandhappy takes a 15 percent commission from each lesson. We are seeking funding to develop additional features, such as a mobile app for messaging and lesson scheduling, and to launch an international marketing program." --As told to J.J. McCorvey

Expert Opinion

Let Users Go Off Grid

With business models like this, work starts happening outside the ecosystem. Students find musicians who live nearby and say, "Let's take this offline, and I'll pay you directly." That's actually not the worst thing in the world. It helps get more users on the platform. Bandhappy could become more of a facilitator of that type of connection. The number of registered students indicates that Bandhappy is off to a great start. If there were signs of early repeat usage, I'd consider investing.

Ryan Sweeney | general partner, Accel Partners, Palo Alto, California

Add More Features

I'm a fan of bringing teachers and students together in a virtual environment, but I wonder if Bandhappy's platform facilitates the quality interaction music lessons need. Adding features would complement the learning environment, like the ability to share snippets of audio or focus on the teacher's hands, so students can see what notes to play. The amount they're trying to raise is a little skinny if they're going to hire coders to build on the platform.

Rob Stavis | partner, Bessemer Venture Partners, Larchmont, New York

Shift Your Focus

They've found the problem, but the solution isn't the right one. I'd advise Bandhappy to focus on singing lessons, which are more easily taught online. With singing lessons, a musician wouldn't have to show students where their fingers go or how to hold an instrument. Or, Bandhappy should just focus on local in-person lessons. Otherwise, I just don't think they're going to be able to deliver the type of quality education you would get face to face.

Jeremy Liew | managing director, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Park, California

IMAGE: Jonathan Robert Willis
Last updated: May 29, 2012

J.J. MCCORVEY is a reporter at Inc. magazine, where he covers a wide range of topics, including technology and business research. He has covered metro news for The Detroit News, and his work has been featured in Men's Fitness.
@jmccorvey




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