Next 36 Grad Michael Cheng Launches platform for Discovering the Greatest Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of

Michael Cheng couldn’t sit still for long after graduating Toronto’s The Next 36 program and launching a startup called NeedleHR. He’s already launched around a dozen different companies in his 24 years, and this week he added another.

It’s called Covr, a music platform full of song cover Youtube videos.

Cheng put it bluntly to us: “I’ve always enjoyed listening to music throughout the day. I love cover music but I hate Youtube. So I ended up building a music player specifically for cover music,” he said. “I showed it to a few friends last Wednesday and within the past few days we got over 1000 users spending over 30 minutes on our site.”

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It took him and Chris Bowal two weeks to build the site, or about 300 entrepreneur working hours. That’s pretty impressive given how nice the site works. It’s a passive listening experience, much like Montreal’s 5by, which curates youtube videos based on user preferences. 5by was recently acquired by San Francisco-based StumbleUpon for an undisclosed sum.

Cheng’s Covr is restricted to videos of cover artists, with several different categories for genres, instruments, hit song covers, game covers, movie covers, and even top coverists. He said he’s gets distracted throughout the day searching for cover music on Youtube. Personally, I’m not much of a cover music guy, but I can imagine there’s many people who love these songs, just like Cheng. He said it’s already made his own life a little easier.

But following the Next 36 program, which selects 36 of the brightest, most high-potential students and cultivates their business ideas, isn’t Cheng thinking about slowing down? After all, the startup he created with two cofounders at the program, NeedleHR, is a fully functional and beautiful web platform that matches a community of designers with whatever users want done.

See Also: The Next 36: $4 Million in Net Assets, Welcomed $1.9 Million in Donations Alone in 2013

“I believe as entrepreneurs, it’s our job to solve problems,” Cheng told BetaKit. “It’s also important to be open minded and constantly explore new opportunities. You never know what you find if you stay vigilant. For some reason, it never feels like I’m getting tied down, it’s always a lot of fun.”

Over 1,000 users from 44 countries are using the site for significant amounts of time. It was originally a simple love project for Cheng, but perhaps it will grow into something bigger. “A love-project stops being just a love-project when everyone else loves it too,” he said. “There is something magical about Covr. I call it the platform for discovering the greatest musicians you’ve never heard of.”

For now, Cheng said NeedleHR is going fine, while he’s exploring a variety of ideas “in an ambitious attempt to hit the next big thing.” He said he’s looking for the steep growth curve, something with massive virality.

“I’ve always been a believer of go big or go home.”

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk previously has written for the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post, Techvibes and BC Business Online. Joseph often goes crazy on twitter during NHL and NFL games.

  • Sandeep

    Beginning – Michael Cheng founded dozens of startups, still running them, finding more

    Middle – Michael Cheng is looking for his big idea

    End – Michael Cheng believes to go big or go home

    Simple question – How does someone who believes in going big or going home keeps finding new companies?

    • Michael Fok

      Easy, you believe an idea will be great -> you build a company around it -> new market data / customer responses shows flaws in original assumptions or limits of the market -> move onto next idea.

      • Sandeep

        According to me going big or going home usually means to go all the way to do something ot go home and not bother. Full kudos to Cheng for persevering and doing great things, but I think the article is hastily written.

        • john knight

          Agreed – if one digs a little deeper into Mr. Cheng’s past, they will see that his self-promotion has enabled him to mask what is essentially a plethora of failed enterprises that made no profit.

          • Michael Cheng

            Thanks for the feedback John!

            While your comment may appear negative in nature, I’m actually quite appreciative of the fact that you took the time to share your thoughts.

            If you dig even deeper into my past, you’ll see that I have been sharing and publishing many of my failures and mistakes along the way. I enjoy sharing my successes as much as my failures.

            I’ve definitely had my fair share of failures, but thankfully that doesn’t mean none of my projects have turned a profit. Without going into details, let’s just say my rent gets paid on time.

            If you’d like to talk more, tweet me a note @michaelhsc