When I flashback seven years ago to the day I joined TIA, I remember a know-it-all freshman, showing up to every meeting late and showing up to the TIA demo day during eWeekend with a cardboard slab and some pictures sloppily glued on. Joining TIA in freshman year to support my band (Shav & Mentos), I naively thought TIA could be a shot at connecting with someone who could help us quickly “blow up” in the music industry.
Fast forward four years, and that same weekend I was facing Jessica Alba and MC Hammer on stage in front of the entire school pitching a prepared presentation on indify, a startup that helps music professionals discover the top up and coming artists using a proprietary algorithm. That eWeekend, indify received $25,000 in grant money from TIA and a workspace for the summer.
After the TIA-style shark tank, I learned that we had not even crossed the starting line on our journey.
Our team started work on indify full-time and spent over a year in my basement simply building the indify product. Matt Pavia, our CTO, was our only software engineer and the person building the product day in and day out. Over the course of the two years, Matt spearheaded massive moments for indify such as our first artist addition (45,000 artists), iteration of our proprietary algorithm, and a redesign of the entire indify product. He singlehandedly coded the platform.
Meanwhile, our Chief Content Officer, Connor Lawrence built an editorial campaign around the artists doing well on our platform that slowly became the backbone for music discovery in the music industry. The slow grind of adding valued music professionals to the editorial list over two years and proving that indify’s predictions are accurate via the content we sent to them (Khalid, DRAM, Post Malone, Maggie Rogers, Desiigner, Amine) led us to moments like our Pigeons & Planes collaboration, our NME collaboration, our Cycle Collaboration, and most importantly our building trust with the top companies in the music industry.
During this time, I learned to pitch to investors/raise funds, sell/excite music professionals about our product, and direct and manage our team towards a set vision. A major moment on the business front was raising funding from Ash Pournouri, Avicii’s former manager and Symposium co-creator who believed in the indify vision and invested pre-seed funding at a crucial time. Now, more than two years after working on indify full-time, we’ve closed our first two deals with major record labels.
What I’ve learned since being a TIA freshman is that there is no such thing as a quick “blow up”. It has been two years since starting work on indify full-time, and I feel like we are now just crossing the starting line. While the TIA shark tank was a key spark for indify, it was the lessons I learned over the course of my time at TIA that I’ve carried with me and will continue to carry with me on the journey of building indify.
Conviction in vision, personal brand, product testing, smart pivots/adjustments, unwavering resilience, and relentless execution are a few of the many values that TIA taught me. TIA gives us founders the blueprint needed to build the foundation of a disruptive startup. Wills [Hapworth], Andy [Greenfield], Mary [Galvez], and the rest of the TIA mentors & staff, I cannot thank you enough for your continued support and coaching. We could not have done it without you.
As indify continues to grow, we ask for your help in connecting us with anyone you feel may add value to our business (firstname.lastname@example.org). For continued updates on indify and the artists we love, feel free to sign up for our newsletter here.