A Q&A with Plug.dj co-founder and CEO Alex Reinlieb. The Los Angeles-based startup, which is a social music sharing platform, announced the closing of a $1.25 million Seed funding round in early December, led by Javelin Venture Partners. It was founded in 2012.
SUB: Please describe Plug.dj and your primary innovation.
Reinlieb: Plug.dj is dedicated to building international communities for discovering and sharing music. Our users choose from a wide array of expressive characters, join any number of virtual communities where they can discover and share music and videos, and communicate with international cohorts.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Reinlieb: To date, we have attracted music enthusiasts and community-minded people from 190-plus countries. Our typical user is under 35, and very interested in discovering and sharing music and videos with people around similar tastes.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates Plug.dj from the competition?
Reinlieb: We don’t believe there’s a one-size-fits-all music listening solution, and it’s likely that we have viewers that potentially use a variety of different products. However, we strive to be the best at people-powered community discovery, listening, and sharing. Although there are a few social music products, there are no other companies in the social consumption music and video space that focus on community the way we do.
SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised $1.25 million in Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Reinlieb: We attempted to remain self-funded as long as possible, but ultimately had to raise capital in order to support our burgeoning community. As we continue to reach growth milestones, it’s important that we now have the necessary funding to grow our team to effectively leverage the market opportunity.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds?
Reinlieb: We plan to use the funds to scale our business, which is driven largely by the people that work and will soon work for Plug.dj.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Plug.dj? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Reinlieb: Plug.dj is the result of hundreds of ‘aha’ moments spanning our lives of listening to music, socializing, traveling around the world, attending music events, and using a variety of music and technology products.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Reinlieb: Our first step was to identify the perceived pain points, build a minimum viable product, and iterate repeatedly over the course of many months as we discovered the real pain points.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Reinlieb: We wanted something short, punchy, creative and that could be translated to other languages easily. The experience centers around plugging yourself into a community of people around common interests to interact, discover, and share—DJ—music. Plug.dj became the best representation of these concepts.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Reinlieb: The most significant challenges have been building a team and scaling our infrastructure to be able to handle the consumer traffic we’ve attracted.
SUB: What are your goals for Plug.dj over the next year or so?
Reinlieb: The most important milestones for us over the next year or so are to focus on strengthening the value proposition of our product through effective scaling, development of new features and community growth.