Chromatik continues to make beautiful music with a $5.7 million (and growing) Series A

By Michael Carney , written on May 8, 2013

From The News Desk

Since launching into private beta a year ago and landing the house band of "American Idol" as an early client, music practice and performance platform Chromatik has been punching above its weight class. The company continued this trend when it landed Grammy-winning artist Bruno Mars, Virgin Records co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff, and other music industry heavyweights as investors in its November 2012 seed round.

Recently, Chromatik took the next big step in ensuring that it would be a big part of the digitization of the music business for years to come, having raised the bulk of an ongoing $8.8 million Series A round.

The company is not speaking publicly about the ongoing financing, per SEC regulations, but a Form D filing indicating that at least $5.7 million has already been raised and a few phone calls confirm that the round is being led by Rustic Canyon Partners, with participation from Plus Capital, Baroda Ventures, 500 Startups, and actor Will Smith, at a minimum. Notably Baroda founder David Bohnett is the chairman of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Rustic Canyon’s Nate Redmond, an avid guitarist, will join Chromatik’s board.

Chromatik offers individual and group musicians a free iPad app and mobile Web product that brings the use of sheet music into the 21st century. Going beyond the basic PDF readers that dominated the industry before it, the app allows users to either upload music or download it from the Web, make annotations and notes, record performance tracks, and then share all of the above with fellow students, teachers, bandmates, and friends. All changes can be synced across multiple devices, meaning that groups or student/instructor pairs can collaborate without the need for paper or email.

Los Angeles-based Chromatik is a graduate of the Launchpad LA accelerator and has grown into to a 16-person engineer heavy team, nearly all of which are active or aspiring musicians. The company’s product is used in 72 countries and has become the most widely used music practice and performance platform in the world according to its founder and CEO Matt Sandler.

With music being the only true “universal language,” Chromatik has a big addressable audience. It is also tackling an industry that has seen little innovation in the last millennia. Other startups are targeting the music education space, including Playground Sessions and JoyTunes, but none that have effectively targeted the millions of bands, orchestras, and choirs, in the world.

With thousands of these organizations already on the platform, just six months after its November public launch, the company appears to be delivering a solution that resonates in this untapped market. The next challenge is to turn on monetization, which will likely include a combination of in-app content downloads, premium features, sponsorships, and music services.