Startups In The Fastlane: Velocity Startup Collabra Music


A number of statups in accelerators have attacked the music collaboration space. It seems artists and musicians everywhere are looking for the best way to hop online and collaborate with each other. Back in May we saw the demo day presentation from Memphis Seed Hachery startup Musistic, promising to be the Github for musicians.

Collabra Music, Louisville startup, Velocity Indiana, startup, fastlane

Collabra Music, a startup currently accelerating at Velocity in Indiana (outside of Louisville), is taking that idea a step further by adding friends, family, and fans into the mix. Collabra Music is about collaboration as much as it is about sharing, performing and discovery.

“We have a big vision for Collabra that connects amateur and independent musicians across the world, creating a collaborative space that inspires new innovation in musical creation and integrates listeners like never before. In developing Collabra and working with many musicians, we came across a common problem, especially for amateur musicians and music students. Many musicians felt that Collabra could help them overcome their struggles in learning, enhancing their experience, and engaging them with their musical practice in more rewarding ways,” co-founder Ryan Michaels told us in the Fastlane interview.

Check out the rest of their Startups In The Fastlane interview below.

collabrascreen2Where is your startup originally from?

Louisville, Kentucky

Tell us about your current team?

Our CEO Ron Karroll is a self-starting non-conformist with a penchant for coding that has been the driving force behind the development of our core product. Ron left his full time job with Humana to lead the charge for Collabra Music and help launch what he hopes will be the next evolution in musical creative collaboration.

Ron determination and drive is buffered by his cautious and calculating musical co-founder Ariel Caplan. Ari is an actuary and master of data and analytics. He and Ron developed the vision together, outlining a new methodology that speaks to today’s participatory listener audience. While Ron mans the software development Ari manages the financial and organizational development for Collabra Music.

As musicians they were both passionate about creating a product that bridged the physical gap between musicians as well as fans connecting to create and collaborate on musical projects online.

Ryan Michaels loves music, he simply loves to listen and he’s always learning guitar. Ryan is well-versed in lean methodologies, grassroots organizing and fundraising. He has diverse experience in customer service, education, and community outreach. He joined Collabra to help develop and execute our marketing strategy and solidify our core team and organizational structure. His energy is pretty much limitless.

What does your startup do?

Collabra Music is an online platform that allows members to connect to create music, collaborate on musical projects, and share their projects online with friends, family, and fans.

We have a big vision for Collabra that connects amateur and independent musicians across the world, creating a collaborative space that inspires new innovation in musical creation and integrates listeners like never before. In developing Collabra and working with many musicians, we came across a common problem, especially for amateur musicians and music students. Many musicians felt that Collabra could help them overcome their struggles in learning, enhancing their experience, and engaging them with their musical practice in more rewarding ways.

Collabra is a solid platform for creative collaboration and now we are releasing the alpha phase of our educational layer for instructors and students to connect and engage through the often painful process of learning an instrument. Collabra connects musicians together to help and hold one another up through the creative and experiential challenges they may face, keeping them committed to their passion for music.

What are your goals for the accelerator program?

Our goals for the accelerator have been somewhat informal as we truly didn’t know what to expect of this experience. We have spent significant time outlining our customer segments, engaging in discovery, validating hypotheses, and formatting our business model. In addition Velocity has been helpful in outlining a number of mistakes and failures we most likely would have made without a cautionary example in education. The knowledge, training, and experience this has provided our team is invaluable and we are incredibly grateful for the relationships we have built this summer.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in the accelerator?

The one thing lesson we learned the most frequently is to appreciate the values in our failures and to embrace our failures along the way for what we could learn from them and apply to future successes. The accelerator encourages you to act on the information you have and hope to succeed but prepare to fail, from every failure a lesson can be carried forward and applied to increase the chances of your next attempt at success.

We also learned to be honest and aware of our team’s strengths as a team as well as the strengths and weaknesses of our individual members. Embracing this awareness has allowed us to act to balance one another strengths and weaknesses.

What’s the hardest piece of advice you’ve had to stomach so far?

The most difficult advice has not been a specific fact or direction, but rather the fact that nearly every piece of advice we’ve received has in some way contradicted the advice of another mentor. What started as a carefree balancing act of pursuing a few courses of action has snowballed into a high speed cross-fire environment in which you are forced to take rapidly growing banks of conflicting advice and make determinations of action with a predetermined acceptance for failure and the satisfaction in knowing that at least in failing fast you do so at the least cost of time and resources.

What is your goal for the day after demo day?

After demo day we are finalizing our runway for the final months of 2013. Our draft plan has been consistently evolving over the course of this summer as we have worked through a number of growing periods of development and discovery. We have a reasonable runway but long term survival and success in securing revenue in our market will require an infusion of cash to adequately cover our overhead costs and operating expenses for 2014. We have been developing relationships with potential Angel investors and hope to have outlined soft pledges and follow up for equity terms and financing in the months following our demo day presentation.

Why did you choose this accelerator?

We are proud to be a part of Velocity Indiana’s inaugural class, we applied to a number of tech accelerator programs across the country but had our hearts set on Velocity because it kept us close to home, to our roots. The entrepreneurial community has been a blessing in resources and we are fortunate to have been able to establish so many close-knit relationships with the local business leadership here.

If you relocated for the accelerator are you staying in your new city?

Our two founders are from Louisville; our third core partner packed his bags to join us for Velocity all the way from Southern California and will be staying on with us here in Kentucky as we move forward from Velocity.

What’s one thing you learned about an accelerator that you didn’t know when you applied?

We didn’t realize how many opportunities were present to learn from and experience. To truly make use of all the resources of an accelerator program you need a committed team, willing and able to engage and participate reliably when and where they are needed. It can be difficult and there will likely be missed opportunities, but having the resources in time to follow-up and lead the people helping you build your project is essential in appreciating the value in an accelerator program.

The physical and financial resources are a blessing, but the pool of talent, knowledge and experience that is available to offer guidance and leadership in overcoming challenges and obstacles is incredible.

Where can people find out more?

Check out our product at and follow us at any or all of our social networks. You can also sign up for our newsletter and following our blog.


Louisville Startup: Kodable Teaching Kids 5 And Up How To Code

Surfscore,Kodable, Louisville startup,startup,startups,startup interviewWhen you start talking to technical co-founders of today’s startups, most of them talk about how they’ve been coding in some form or another since they were little kids. Such is the case for Jon Mattingly the co-founder of Louisville startup SurfScore and their newest product Kodable.  Mattingly started “fiddling” with computers at the age of 6, and now he and cofounder Grechen Huebner are setting out to teach a new breed of grade school kids how to code.

Kodable is a new iPad game that teaches kids aged five and up how to code. This is taught by teaching the fundamentals of programming and problem solving in a fun way. Kids are learning these fundamentals without even realizing it.

“It introduces the basic concepts of programming, including conditionals, loops and functions, in an abstract way simple enough for young children to understand. Kids give the characters, called fuzzes, commands that guide them through a maze. This challenges children to think through a problem in multiple ways before deciding on a solution, then rewards them for choosing the most efficient path.” Huebner told us in an interview.

teach kids to code


There’s a variety of software out there now that teaches even younger children the fundamentals of reading. Huebner and Mattingly thought that if those skills could be learned at an early age, programming could be taught the same way.  Mattingly credits Hubener’s artistic ability with actually making these skills fun to learn and easy to understand.

Check out the rest of our interview with the SurfScore/Kodable team below.

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New Louisville Startup To Tackle App Discovery (AGAIN), Check Out Appszito

Appszito,Kentucky Startup,Louisville startup,startups,startup interviewApp discovery is a beast. I remember two years ago at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York there were three app discovery startups. A few months later at TechCrunch Disrupt SF (2011) there were another three app discovery startups.  The problem that all these startups are tackling is how to discover apps across multiple app stores and markets and finding apps in a somewhat logical way.

Louisville Kentucky startup Appszito is working on a search product that will allow smartphone users to easily find applications for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.

Appszito uses a proprietary relational algorithm that matches smarpthone users with the best and most cost effective app solutions for whatever it is they’re looking for.

When you enter a specific type of app or need, like CAD for instance, into the Appszito engine it combs the iTunes app store, Windows Market Place and multiple Android app stores to find the most relevant search results. Appszito provides pricing information, platform and a brief description of the application that’s met the search criteria. In true search fashion it serves up the most relevant matches first, but the list of apps can be plentiful.

Users are directly linked to the download site for each particular app.

Appszito is hoping to solve the pain of searching multiple places with less than stellar results for the smartphone user. They are also looking to provide a resource for app developers to drive downloads based on relevancy.

We got a chance to talk to Appszito co-founder Rahul Ahir about his startup and the Louisville startup scene. Check out the interview below.

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Louisville Startup: Impulcity Smooth As Butter Event Discovery Now In Beta

Impulcity is one of the standout startups at The Brandery in Cincinnati. We finally got a chance to talk with Hunter Hammonds and Austin Cameron face to face about the disruptive mobile app they’re building.

When someone who does what I do hears the words “location” and “discovery’ we automatically think FourSquare, Google Places, and checking in. We think the space is crowded. We think “sure you’ve got something different”. Well with Impulcity, Hammonds and Cameron have something different. As soon as we arrived at the Brandery Hammonds immediately set up the private beta on my phone and for the rest of the evening I got a guided tour on Impulcity right from the co-founders.

After a night on the town, Hammonds challenged me and our co-founder Cameron Wright to name one event discovery mobile app, that served up local events, allows you to check into them, invite friends, and had a great UI. We couldn’t even name one, not like this.

As you can see they have a great visual user experience. From the main screen you see a highlighted event in visual form and then a grid of similar pictures promoting events around you. The top featured event can be swiped from left to right so that you can see all the highlighted events.

Once you’re in the event you can do a number of things which are all explained in easy detail. There are big inviting buttons for sharing, and what network you want to share with. There is a timeline feature for each event where people can chime in on their experience at the event and share pictures and text.

While Impulcity is from Louisville and building at the Brandery in Cincinnati they’ve already got over a million events in their database that will populate in the same beautiful visual way.

Impulcity says they help you discover, attend and interact with events around you and that’s certainly true. But you can bet on our road trip that we will continue to test and use Impulcity.


Sign up for early access to Impulcity here

Find out more about The Brandery here

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” and we’re road-tripping everywhere else click here

Brandery Check In With Louisville Startup Impulcity

Impulcity is an amazing feature packed discovery startup from Louisville, KY. We spoke with Hunter Hammonds the CEO of Impulcity back in June before they had moved into the Brandery. Hammonds was very optimistic about Impulcity and the Brandery. After two weeks in he’s just as optimistic.

Hammonds reports that they’ve trimmed a lot of fat off the app and gotten back down to the core. They have a unique way of presenting discovery so that it’s not just about the actual discovery, it’s both fun and exciting as well. Impulcity is about a lot more than just checking in.

Yesterday we talked with the CrowdHall team at the Brandery. They were still riding high off a win at the BunBury, TechBury Pitch Wars on Friday. The team from Utah took home a $1,000 check and they’re buying lunch for the entire class of the Brandery tomorrow.

Don’t let that full you though warns Hammonds. He and his co-founder Austin arrived at the Brandery a full month ahead of everyone else to get a running start. That strategy may be paying off well for these hard working entrepreneurs from Louisville.  Let’s check in with Hunter Hammonds.

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Louisville Startup: Impulcity, Discover The World Around You INTERVIEW

I know I know I know, after South By Southwest you were sure the days of reporting on new discovery startups were over, but we assure you this one is a little different. Louisville startup Impulcity isn’t about social discovery, or app discovery, or thing discovery, Impulcity helps you discover kick ass events, venues and thing to do.

But Impulcity doesn’t stop there, they find the best events, and even sell tickets (often at great discounts) to those events. Then, once their users get into the events the entire experience turns just about user controlled. The user community adds pictures and media to prove what a grand ole time they are having at whatever event it is.

Impulcity will come in handy at Bonaroo, BamaJama, and of course next year at South By Southwest. So what you’re essentially doing is finding the best events, securing your spot in the best events and then reporting on the events to prove what a great time you’re having, and then in turn helping others discover kick ass events.

We got a chance to catch up with co-founder Hunter Hammonds who pinged us after we ran a story about the Louisville startup that’s moving to Cincinnati based incubator the brander.

After Hammonds bold statements for that story we had to check it out further. And yes, Impulcity is going to kick ass (It’s Friday the asses are ok)

Check out the interview after the break and I promise not to say that word again

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