Montréal-based software startup BeatConnect enables musicians and producers to play music and edit audio together from afar.
Founded by a pair of CBC Radio-Canada alumni, CEO Alexandre Turbide and CTO Nicholas Laroche, BeatConnect describes itself as a digital collaboration-based music platform. As Turbide put it in an interview with BetaKit, the music collaboration software space is “fragmented.”
By enabling musicians to collaborate remotely, BeatConnect soon realized it was making it possible for “a whole other economy” to flourish.
“There’s no one solution for people trying to make music together because all of the different softwares that are being used have spent the last 15 years creating silos around their products,” said Turbide. “It’s not a cohesive environment for creators.”
BeatConnect initially set out to solve this collaboration issue. But Turbide said the startup soon realized that by enabling musicians to collaborate remotely, it was also making it possible for “a whole other economy” of creators to flourish.
BeatConnect has secured $3 million CAD ($2.2 million USD) in seed funding to build out “the next phase” of its platform, which involves a community hub and a marketplace for producers looking to sell virtual instruments and sounds.
The funding round was led by Fonds d’investissement de la culture et des communications (FICC), which contributed $1.4 million. Supported by Société de Développement des Entreprises Culturelles (SODEC) and Fonds de solidarité FTQ, FICC invests in companies involved in the creation, production, and distribution of cultural products. Angel investor network Anges Québec put another $850,000 into BeatConnect, while Montréal-based creator economy-focused venture fund Triptyq Capital provided the remainder of the financing.
According to Turbide, the all-equity round fully closed in August 2022, when newly formed Triptyq Capital came in, and marks BeatConnect’s first round of external funding to date.
The initial idea behind BeatConnect came from Laroche, a musician-turned-entrepreneur with firsthand experience and knowledge of the issues artists face today. Laroche teamed up with Turbide, a former mechanical engineer, in 2020 to launch Beat Connect just as the COVID-19 pandemic forced musicians to make music remotely.
After some undisclosed big music tech players expressed interest in what BeatConnect was building, Turbide said he and Laroche realized that they had stumbled onto a big opportunity.
“What it did is actually alert us to the fact that we actually have something that’s pretty good, and that can be marketed,” said Turbide. “We decided [that] we’re gonna do it ourselves, and we’re gonna raise some cash in Québec to take it to the next level.”
According to Turbide, the entire digital music economy for creators evolves around marketplaces where they can buy and sell virtual instruments and sounds.
“Our product magnifies the value proposition of those existing giants because we are at the crux of music creation, where people really come together to ideate, to perfect the sound, or the project,” said Turbide. “So we’re also the perfect time to propose and promote those sounds and instruments to be sold.”
According to BeatConnect, the company’s software integrates into all major digital audio workstations (DAWs). Turbide said this approach sets BeatConnect apart from other software solutions for music collaboration. “We’re the best at third-party integration,” he claimed.
Available for free as a desktop app for both Mac and PC, BeatConnect has amassed close to 6,000 users to date. As Triptyq Capital managing partner Guillaume Therien sees it, BeatConnect’s app is “democratizing music creation with a playful, collaborative, and disruptive technology.”
Government of Québec-backed Triptyq Capital, which aims to support the creation of 20 startups with commitments of $40 million, launched its debut fund earlier this year to fill a perceived financing gap in the province’s creative economy.
Therien told BetaKit that BeatConnect is tapping into a fast-growing space with over five million professional musicians, 50 million amateur musicians, and a market opportunity of more than $100 billion. While Therien anticipates that the startup’s early adopters will be bedroom producers and amateur producers, he sees potential appeal for BeatConnect among other groups and other platforms.
Francois Guy, an angel investor at Anges Québec, claimed to BetaKit that BeatConnect’s approach to collaboration and creation process is unique in the market.
“The music industry has done little to break down the silos that keep their customers captive,” said. “Now comes BeatConnect with revolutionary technology that will enable creators to collaborate seamlessly, create more, and monetize their content.”
“The possibilities that we have in [this] universal kind of environment—it’s insane.”
Guy, who previously worked at Landr and is now VP of technology for La Presse, is joining BeatConnect’s board on behalf of Anges Québec. Turbide said Guy and former Lightspeed Commerce and SSENSE executive and current Framework partner and CTO Jim Texier have played an important role so far on the tech front, advising BeatConnect as it refines and expands its platform.
Over the past 10 months, BeatConnect’s efforts have been focused on revamping its sequencer for collaboration and rolling out its community hub. The next component of the company’s product vision involves launching a marketplace that feeds into both in 2023.
The CEO said BeatConnect’s product will remain free, noting that the startup plans to make money through this marketplace by allowing bedroom producers to monetize their skillsets. He compared BeatConnect’s approach to what Fiverr has done for developers and designers.
Turbide wants to build BeatConnect into “a one-stop-shop for musicians” making music. “The possibilities that we have in [this] universal kind of environment—it’s insane,” he said. “It goes so freaking far.”
Feature image courtesy BeatConnect.