Q&A with Gail Kantor, CEO, eJamming
As a follow-up to its company pitch (eJamming: 3/16/10), StartUp Beat had some questions for eJamming’s Gail Kantor about the company’s technology, how it is marketing its service—which allows musicians to collaborate real-time over the Internet, and about running a startup in this challenging economic environment.
SUB: How have you been able to overcome the inherent issues of lag and connectivity across the Internet to make eJamming work? Because of the precision involved in synching musicians, even in a live, in-person setting, this just seems like a monumental task.
Kantor: The challenge was three-fold: find a way to a) stream CD-quality audio across the Internet without losing packets of audio information; b) make it fast enough so musicians could jam together, even when situated on different continents; and c) synchronize the audio streams from multiple locations together. The audio engine we developed for eJamming AUDiiO 3.0 delivers pristine audio while transmitting these multiple audio streams via our peer-to-peer architecture across the Internet with the lowest possible transmission time. The live interplay among four players within a thousand-mile radius is virtually an “in-the-room” experience—even for the most scrutinizing musician—as long as all the players have 800kbps of upload bandwidth. We have musicians who regularly jam with musicians on other continents—or reconnect with old friends and family who live across the country—and also musicians who connect across town because it’s a lot easier than lugging gear to a band mate’s place.
SUB: Have you entered into, or do you plan in the near future to enter into, any other big marketing alliances like the one with Fender?
Kantor: Yes, there are other significant partnership opportunities on the table right now. It seems our perseverance to develop the strongest possible solution has built our profile among other major brands as a team that plays to win.
SUB: How else are you marketing the service?
Kantor: Marketing with strategically appropriate brands is our primary focus for now. Pack-ins, events, and a variety of promotions will be initiated with our marketing partners’ support, giving us broad reach from the web to retail. Plus we are leveraging the connections among musicians on the social networks as well.
SUB: Do you have any product additions/enhancements planned for the near future?
Kantor: One of our priorities is the release of our Virtual Patch Bay, which will allow musicians to stream pre-recorded audio out of their existing Digital Audio Workstations (like Logic, Reason, Cubase, Garageband…) into eJamming AUDiiO live sessions—and vice versa. This way every player in a live session can jam and record to existing tracks our members have already created.
SUB: Who do you see as your competition?
Kantor: While there are other websites promoting collaboration among musicians with their server-based tools, those sites are not enabling multi-player, live collaboration and real-time communication as we do among members of our community. This is what makes us unique.
SUB: Who are your target (or just ideal) customers?
Kantor: We see musicians and singers at all levels of proficiency, from beginners to avid amateurs to professionals benefiting from this breakthrough technology. For sure, our early adopters tended to be tech savvy. What we’ve expected and what we’re seeing is the gradual initiation of more mainstream players into our community who recognize they can have a blast while saving time and money.
SUB: Do you plan to seek more investors/funding in the short term?
Kantor: We are seeking a Series B round of $3-to-$5 million to increase our ability to exploit our patented technologies and implement not only our marketing plan for eJamming AUDiiO targeting the broad worldwide music-making market, but also to capture the mass music-loving market with our second product release. eJamming AUDiiO and the other products on our development roadmap are realizing our big vision: leveraging our live audio streaming innovations to connect a worldwide community of music makers and music lovers.
SUB: Finally, a question I always ask: what advice do you have for entrepreneurs just starting out, especially in this challenging economic environment?
Kantor: As one of our early-stage investors said to us: “You have to be crazy to be an entrepreneur.” It really does require an irrational level of belief in your vision. Anyone starting out with an idea, an invention that serves the needs of a big market but requires a behavioral shift, must know that the pursuit of that dream calls for the deepest levels of commitment. Once people invest in your invention you have a responsibility not only to yourself and the consumers you serve, but you have a serious responsibility to those investors. The challenge is to sustain your passion while bearing both of those responsibilities. Arrange for as much available credit as you can before starting on your journey as an entrepreneur. And never ever give up if you believe in your vision. Perseverance wins.
eJamming – www.ejamming.com