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Non-Technical Founder Building a Tech Startup to over $10M: David Moricca, CEO of Socialive (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Dec 9th 2021

Sramana Mitra: When Ben comes on board, what are you able to accomplish? Did the business validate?

David Moricca: We did get Breakout Band built over the next couple of years. We ended up working with a couple of European engineers as well who were experts at audio technology. We also brought on a couple of our teammates who are still with us today. We got some users. We had a very passionate audience. They loved the platform, but it wouldn’t scale to millions of users for it to be a viable business. That was clear. We did go through the process of learning how to build and bring a product to market. We learned from that experience what was happening in the music space, which led us to our second product.

Sramana Mitra: The first product, you got some passionate early adopters. They were users, not customers.

David Moricca: It was a free service, but there were components you could pay for. There certainly wasn’t a scalable revenue stream.

Sramana Mitra: What was the next pivot?

David Moricca: Mixify. Some of the learnings we had during the Breakout Band era was that electronic dance music was starting to get hot. We’re talking 2012 to 2013. DJs were the rock stars. Mind you, I wasn’t deep in the EDM space. I was older. We started learning about this exploding space through a lot of the users on Breakout Band. They kept asking us for beat kits. We saw that it had a passionate and massive audience.

On the digital side, it was fragmented. There was no centralized place where DJs were streaming. We created Mixify. It took some of the ideas of Breakup and turned it into an audio streaming platform but targeted the EDM community. DJs could stream. It created these virtual environments. People could tip and people could like.

Sramana Mitra: Did that work?

David Moricca: It was similar to Breakout Band. It had a passionate audience and it had well-known DJs using the platform. It became a known commodity. In fact, we were almost acquired by an organization that was rolling up. That didn’t happen. We were able to find a different path. We had a larger audience and more revenue, but it wasn’t the one that would scale. We weren’t afraid to pivot if we knew we needed to.

Sramana Mitra: In all this time through these two pivots, how much revenue did you bring in? You had to sustain somehow. What were the numbers?

David Moricca: We were fortunate enough to be able to bring in some angel investors along the way who stuck with this thing as we evolved. They were making a bet on me. We were able to price the round and have enough money to sustain. During those years, we became super capital-efficient. In the six years between the founding and end of Mixify, my average salary was very low. I had kids at that point. Revenue wise, I can’t recall. They were not going to be the type that would entice institutional investors.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Non-Technical Founder Building a Tech Startup to over $10M: David Moricca, CEO of Socialive
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