Carter announces SMASHD Labs, an LA-based accelerator. SMASHD Labs will take between five and seven young tech companies whose focus is entertainment and culture and house them for 10 weeks in Atom Factory’s office, providing them with $50,000 in funding for 3% of the company, as well as providing a weekly “curriculum” in order to focus and define their idea.
Carter talks about why he started SMASHD Labs to Billboard.
There’s definitely a huge amount of accelerators out there, but there was a void for one that focused on brand, and that’s a space we have a lot of experience at and that makes this unique. Selfishly, it works for the Atom Factory — by being able to put 25 of the smartest entrepreneurs from around the world in your office. We get a lot of value out of that as well…[I want] A diverse team — the crux of my personal mission is to open up entrepreneurship to everybody, so Silicon Valley doesn’t have a patent on innovation. We want to open up the process to people outside of that network — the team would be diverse, hard-working entrepreneurs with technical expertise that are looking to gain traction on their product.
On the importance of data:
There’s always going to be a place for artists — but when you look at what humans have actually done to devalue music, from a pure monetary valuation standpoint, this is the part where our industry needs a lot of help. SoundCloud is worth its $1.5 billion valuation, but there’s no way in the world that SoundCloud should be worth more than The Beatles’ catalog. From a value proposition, we have a huge opportunity to re-value our business… I think the music is undervalued. I think up to this point we’ve done a poor job of valuing our content.
Carter announces the first inductees into the SMASHD Labs accelerator program.
We want to be able to open the door to companies to come into our network where we can actually invest money, put a network of investors around them, and put mentors in the room that can help them build a great company.
Inductees include WeTransfer, a file transfer service:
All of our clients on the music side use WeTransfer, so here we have this opportunity to reach 70 million people per month through advertising.
Trakfire, a Product Hunt for music:
Without giving too much away about what they’re working on, it’s the most well-thought out and efficient way of discovering new music I’ve seen so far.
Sidestep, which lets fans order fan gear directly to their concert seats or their house.
You go into the venues and there’s a huge drop-off rate in the merch lines. People don’t want to miss parts of the concert.
Throne, an Ebay for streetwear, which he had seen at a demo day:
The problem with when you look at eBay is that you can put a pair of Jordans next to a frying pan. It’s an altogether different experience compared to having some editorial around it and well-curated experience
Podium, which gives tablets to Uber and Lyft riders:
Having a captive audience in the back of Lyft or an Uber is a pretty great place.
Enrou, a marketplace where buyers can support both the individuals and communities that they buy from. Carter saw the founders on Forbes 30 under 30 list and wanted the company to apply for SMASHD.
This was a company that really checked a box that we were looking for in how can we combine social impact around global culture.
In an interview with Re/code, Carter talks about SMASHDLabs.
On the artist side, we made a significant investment in very young artists from the very beginning of their careers and helped them become global superstars. So, on the entrepreneurs’ side, the idea of the labs was to be able to create this ecosystem to help them from the very beginning, to see them through from development and hopefully until they become large companies.
He also says that the accelerator companies had access to entrepreneurial advice from Marc Cuban, who gave the welcoming address, Sophia Amoruso of retail site Nasty Gal, Jason Calacanis, Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Upfront Ventures’ Mark Suster and MediaREDEF Chief Executive Jason Hirschhorn.
We had a wide array of incredible entrepreneurs and investors that came in to speak to the group. The head of growth for Snapchat, he probably spent five days with our companies. That’s significant.
Carter and Havas launch Smashd Group, an extension of his online news vertical and business accelerator, at Cannes Lions. Carter’s team of 20 Smashd employees at Atom Factory will assist Havas’ global network of corporate clients on brand consultancy, technology strategy and other innovations. Carter, on the difference between large brands and artists social media presences.
We don’t touch our artists’ Twitter or Instagram accounts. [But] when you have multiple people running a digital department, it’s very difficult for that voice to translate throughout the organization into the community…If you’re Coca-Cola, General Mills, one of these big companies, they’re a big inspiration to most of these startups. So when you can marry that thirst for innovation within the biggest companies and the thirst for business development from these young entrepreneurs, we think it’s a perfect match, The idea of being able to do [Smashd] Labs on the tech side, and brand innovation, we can bring these two worlds together.
Carter also talks about the next area he sees that is set for disruption:
Banks are dead. I met with the founder two weeks ago who’s building a platform for music artists, from STEM, and basically they were gonna handle collections for music artists to collect royalties from YouTube and all these other platforms. After the founder showed me an artist’s PayPal account, which contained $250,000, she said, ‘None of the creators are gonna have bank accounts. For these kids, everything is happening on mobile.’ This group aren’t buying cars, so they’re not paying loans. They’re renting and not buying houses, they’re waiting to get married til their mid-to-late 30s. These kids aren’t going to college soon because they don’t want the student debt. So I think banks are ripe for disruption.