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by bart becks⎜BECAUSE MUSIC MATTERS AND STARTUPS ROCK

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Category: Belgium/Europe

Since begin 2012, we’ve been transferring our life back to Belgium. Over the last 5 years, I’ve been fortunate to live in Amsterdam, Munich, SF and Los Angeles. 4 fascinating and yet completely different cities.

I can say I lost my heart somewhat to LA. Tough city to get in at first, but great to realize your ambitions. When I arrived in LA, ‘something’ was happening, especially in and around the Santa Monica area. I’ve witnessed from nearby the evolution from having some startups, to a movement that wants to become a tech startup hub. LA now wants be a global capital for entertainment, but also for tech, and especially in the intersection of both. Initiatives will continue to grow in the near future, like creating a tech corridor which would create more inflow via universities, more ambitious funding, and hence more ambitious companies.

For some years, I’ve been alternating between LA and Belgium, but that has come to an end. Both on a professional and personal level, it just wasn’t combinable anymore. My little boy will become 5 years old in a couple of weeks, and we wanted 1 school for him. Professionally, most initiatives I’m involved in didn’t generate the traction needed to stay in the US at this moment. We’ve also been testing the waters in Singapore. It looks promising, but all has to be done. I’m a keynote speaker at the global crowdsourcing week in 2013, and this is immediately our target date if we want to achieve and launch something there. More about that later.

So I’m Back in Brussels now. Actually in the very heart of it. It’s a weird place that you sometimes love to hate, but mostly love. Brussels is an intriguing cloud of a city. Brussels center is underestimated as a creative and entrepreneurial center. Mainly because it is unorganized, but that can be arranged. It feels a bit like Santa Monica 5 years back. I don’t know yet if the local government will have the same ambition, so let’s draw a plan and start the talks. Berlin, London, Paris, Barcelona amongst others are all going focussing on talent, ambition and growth, and Brussels could be amongst that list. After all, Brussels is the capital of Europe, and everything is a short flight away.

But I’ll be also spending a lot of time in Limburg. For my foreign friends who are less familiar, Ford is about to close down the factory in this area, where I’m originally born and raised. This means a massive loss of jobs and welfare, so Limburg needs to be re-invented. Every individual has right to a meaningful job, and we need more willpower, work and imagination to create that. There will be initiatives in education, logistics, cleantech, healthcare and probably some other. The goal of the upcoming strategy will probably be double: solve the problems of the closing factory and all impacted people, and create a sustainable socio-economic climate for the future. With some perspective, Limburg is kind of a Silicon Triangle, perfectly placed between the French, German and Dutch speaking community. A mini-Europe as it may. In 2013, I’ll be launching, building and supporting new initiatives over here. Until now it have been mainly week-end work and contributions, but time to step it up. Although it’s not clearly defined yet, this feels like a mission, something that I ‘need to do’.
Besides Brussels and Limburg, fascinating things are happening in Gent and Liège as well. And probably in other centers that I’m just discovering.

Anyway, that’s what it looks like today. It’s a tough climate. It’s a new start. Tomorrow, today is just history. So the future will tell.
But let’s dare to be ambitious. Let’s dare to be proud. Let’s just do it.

bart

Peter Van Rompuy, Belgian parliamentary and son of EU President Herman Van Rompuy, introduced a proposal today to significantly raise the crowdfunding potential in Belgium. This proposal would have quite some impact on the crowdfunding potential in Belgium, and bring us up to level with our surrounding countries such as The Netherlands and the UK.

De Tijd, the leading financial newspaper in Belgium, reports today about that this new proposal. Currently, the limit of the maximum budget to be raised is set at 100.000 EUR per project. For the music projects that we enable via SonicAngel.com – this is sufficient for most projects. But now that we’re moving into films and TV productions via FilmAngel.TV, higher budgets could quickly be required. Most importantly, we are launching www.angel.me to enable crowdfunding for startups to find their seed equity, and ofcourse there the 100k€ limit is clearly an issue to realize the potential of the startups, and hence the competitive situation of our country related to our surrounding countries that allow seed equity crowdfunding up and over 1 million EUROS.

I’m quite convinced that we can find a balanced proposal that enables the creative economy and the entrepreneurial ecosystem on the one hand, and protect fan investments and rights on the other.

The full article, quoting Senator Peter Van Rompuy, regulator FSMA CEO Jean-Paul Servais and myself here below (in Dutch, from De Tijd).

No need to say we’re in full support!

bart

 

From: De Tijd
Crowdfunding moet naar 1 miljoen euro

Crowdfunding is een manier om projecten gefinancierd te krijgen door bij een groot publiek kleine bedragen in te zamelen, vaak via het internet. In België financierde de muzikant Tom Dice zo zijn eerste plaatje nadat hij geweigerd was door klassieke platenfirma’s. Zijn fans konden zich inkopen in zijn project en ontvingen maar liefst 260 procent winst per aandeel.

Tom Dice deed daarbij een beroep op SonicAngel. Dat bedrijf werd in mei 2010 opgericht door Bart Becks, ex-CEO van Skynet, en Maurice Engelen, frontman van Praga Kahn, om muzikanten via crowdfunding aan het nodige kapitaal te helpen. Het eerste bedrijf dat in ons land gebruikmaakte van het systeem was Akamusic in 2008.

Maar anders dan in andere landen is er in België geen specifieke regelgeving. Volgens de bestaande wetgeving kan in ons land zonder al te veel rompslomp 100.000 euro worden ingezameld. Als het om een hoger bedrag gaat, wordt het project beschouwd als een financiële instelling die een ‘beroep doet op het openbaar spaarwezen’. In dat geval moet de financiële waakhond FSMA een vergunning afleveren.

Het wetsvoorstel van Peter Van Rompuy moet het mogelijk maken dat zonder vergunningen tot 1 miljoen euro kan worden ingezameld, waardoor meer projecten in aanmerking zouden komen. ‘De kredietcrisis maakt het steeds moeilijker voor projecten voldoende financiering te vinden via de banken. Waarom geven we burgers niet de kans te investeren in initiatieven van hun keuze?’, zegt Peter Van Rompuy. Hij wijst er nog op dat de rente op spaarboekjes historisch laag is, en dat crowdfunding een hogere return op spaargeld kan opleveren. ‘De Belgen hebben maar liefst 225 miljard euro op de bank staan. Crowdfunding maakt het mogelijk een deel van dat kapitaal te investeren in projecten van eigen keuze – en  vaak ook van eigen bodem – die een grotere return kunnen hebben.’

Een goede zaak, vindt Bart Becks. ‘We willen ook films en ontwerpers financieren met crowdfunding. Daarnaast denken we aan zaaikapitaal voor start-ups. Dan heb je een veel hoger budget nodig.

De financiële waakhond FSMA zal volgens beiden wel een oogje in het zeil moeten houden, zodat crowdfunding niet leidt tot oplichting. ‘Er moet een goed evenwicht worden gevonden tussen het aanmoedigen van financiering via crowdfunding en de controle van de aanbieders’, zegt Van Rompuy.

FSMA-topman Jean-Paul Servais liet onlangs zelf weten dat de waakhond zich wil buigen over het populairder wordende crowdfunding.

I’m writing a monthly column for Datanews, one of the leading ICT/NewMedia magazines from Belgium. Only in NL & FR though.
This month it’s about Belgium’s state of entrepreneurship, perfectly in line with the great www.startups.be event of April 19 in Brussels.
Enjoy!
bart

NL version: OPINIE Bart Becks – Belgium zero points, maar een hoog BNG-gehalte

 

FR version: Opinion Bart Becks – Belgium zero point, mais une haute ENB

I recently wrote a couple of opinions for Datanews. And no, I don’t master the art of keeping it succintly yet. Thx Luc & Frederik for the space!

In NL:

Should I stay or Should I go (NL): http://datanews.knack.be/ict/knowledge-center/start-ups/opinie-bart-becks-should-i-stay-or-should-i-go/article-4000041792537.htm

Er leeft iets in ons land: http://datanews.knack.be/ict/knowledge-center/start-ups/opinie-bart-becks-er-leeft-iets-in-ons-land/article-4000029393231.htm

 

In FR:

Cela bouge dans notre pays: http://datanews.levif.be/ict/centre-de-connaissance/jeunes-entreprises/opinion-bart-becks-cela-bouge-dans-notre-pays/article-4000029492640.htm

Should I stay or Should I go: http://datanews.levif.be/ict/actualite/opinion/opinion-bart-becks-should-i-stay-or-should-i-go/article-4000041835389.htm

Yep, we’re pretty happy & proud that MIDEM just selected SonicAngel as one of the global music industry innovators.

Happy for the nomination, proud of our team! Team means: the team working day to day, but certainly all the fans, all the artists and everyone involved. It will allow us to tell our story to the international music scene. Additionally, Tom Dice is also selected for the NRJ music awards that is held during the MIDEM conference – so we’re present twice, with our platform AND our music!

Crowdfunding is becoming a gamechanger in empowering talent across the world, even if I see crowdfunding as a start (and not the end) of creating a new creative ecosystem. More about that later.

For now: thanks. Very grateful. Short video below (don’t mind the quality – but it does tell our story).

bart

Paris: Official Press Release related to MIDEM – the global music conference (28-31 January 2012, Cannes/France)

Midemlab, the international pitching competition for ground-breaking start-ups and app developers across all sectors, today unveils the 30 finalists poised to be the innovators of tomorrow’s music industry. The finalists – chosen by UK digital consulting company Music Ally and French specialist open innovation consultancy, bluenove – will present their projects to a jury of leading international digital experts including potential business partners and leading investment firms.

The finalists will each outline their cutting-edge technical solutions that could offer new opportunities to industry executives, artists and brands to reach and engage with new audiences and generate revenues.

Previous editions have provided a launch pad for some of today’s major technological innovations, such as SoundCloud, The Echo Nest, Songkick and Root Music. The list of finalists for 2012 will herald the next generation of innovation.

Cannes, here we come!

bb

We’re at a point that our company is growing in various directions: multiple platforms and multiple countries. In order to achieve the ambitions of our company, we’ll start hiring some essential key profiles. I’d like to get some feedback on the job descriptions. So every day of the week, I’ll post one. Starting with our need for a CFO. All feedback is welcome ! (and see our other open positions here: Jobs.SonicAngel.com)

 

.A CFO for SonicAngel  (incl. our new initiatives FilmAngel & Angel.me)

SonicAngel was created with the vision to create an innovative platforms to find, finance & release a new generation of artists powered by the fans. Central in our approach is a crowdfunding model, which allows fans to invest in the bands. However, we have a relentless focus to create success stories, so we’re also further building platforms based on social media te detect but also to optimize the release of creative work.

After a start in Belgium, we are now extending in various genres, but we’re also rapidly expanding to the US, Germany & France. As a start.
On top of it, we’ve just released FilmAngel.TV. Same concept, different domain.

And there’s much more to come.

In order to achieve our ambitions, we are looking for a CFO.

We believe it’s essential that a CFO can drive the following statements:

1.     “It’s all in the details” - A professional accounting designation is the foundation. A few years ago it was all the rage to have MBAs in the top finance role. These days, an MBA does not begin to cover the accounting, process, and tax knowledge needed to steer a company’s finances.

2.     “Let’s make a deal” - The dream team CFO not only runs the deal process for fundraising, but should also bring deal flow into the company. They should have a track record of originating and closing equity deals, and should have a long list of potential financing sources that are willing to take their call. Also you want someone who can stretch your funding by knowing which expenses to cut without harming your business.

3.     “Time to get organized” - Your CFO should take a leading role in bringing operational excellence into your company. It means installing just the right amount of process, reporting and structure. Not so much that it slows you down, but enough so that you smoothly run and grow the engine.

4.     “What happens in the company stays in the company” – Your CFO should be a trusted advisor to the CEO and other executives. Running a company can be lonely. Your CFO will a key, objective source of advice and counsel as you make the big and the small decisions.

5.     “Jack of all trades” – Able to perform other duties (e.g., human resources, technology, legal, and information technology) as needed. It will be a long time before you have in-house counsel, and you can’t afford an outside law firm for every NDA or contract to sign. So, choose a CFO who is very comfortable with legal documents, as well as finance.

6.     “Been there, done that” - Building a software based company is much different than a manufacturing one, or services. The differences are just as apparent in the financials as they are in technology. You need someone who knows the ropes in your industry. And who wans to excel in it

7.      “I have a dream” - The startup road is guaranteed to be long and hard. Investors look for someone who loves the challenge, looks and sounds like he can weather the storm, will always see the bright side despite adversity, and never gives up.

The job of a startup CFO is very different from one at a “big” company. The latter is much more of a hands-off role focused on investor relations, deal making (financing, M & A), governance, reporting and other back office matters. In stark contrast, the startup CFO is much more hands-on and integrated into the day-to-day of the business.

If you feel ‘Yeah’ while reading above statements, and you’d like to work in Brussels, call me on +32 477 62 65 74 or mail me at bart.becks@sonicangel.com

 

 

It’s each time quite a stress, because ‘winning’ the opening for a major act is such a great moment for our young bands to show how good they really are, to gain experience and ofcourse to enjoy a full house in a great venue. MNM just announced that Newton will be opening for INXS at DeVooruit in Gent on December 12th.

This is the 5th time in a relatively short time that one of our band is selected to do a major opening.
1. Tom Dice for Taylor Swift @ Vorst (Brussels) & Ahoy (Rotterdam)
2. Barefoot & the Shoes for El Fish @ AB (Brussels)
3. Vienna for Avril Lavigne @ Forrest (Brussels)
4. Jerusalem Syndrome for While Lies @ Lotto Arena (Antwerp)
5. Newton for INXS @ Vooruit (Gent)

continue reading…

Mathieu & Guillaume leggen in ‘mensentaal’ uit wat fanfunding of ‘crowdfunding’ nu eigenlijk is.

Nu heb je de kans om hen mee te ondersteunen, en alles vanop de eerste rij mee te maken.
Op deze site vind je alle info: M&G

Duidelijk uitgelegd, niet ?

bart

 

 

Ter info:
M&G hebben ondertussen reeds 3 top10 hits in de vlaamse top10 gehad, ganse Vlaanderen overtuigd van hoe goed ze live wel zijn, Nederland de eerste keer leren kennismaken, en ook Wallonië komt in zicht.

Here a great slideshow from our friends at InSites. It gives quite some data about the awareness, usage and expectations of social networks.

Some interesting observations:
- 93% intend to stay ‘in’ their current social network, 60% does not need a new social network, implying that the big ones will continue to gain marketshare
- 600mio people use social networks on a daily basis
- brands and companies have a huge area of opportunities (awareness, conversations, conversions) and members are open for it if done correctly
- Location Based Services and Augmented reality are additional possibilities to the increasing mobile usage, but still have a low awareness

Slidedeck below, contact @steven_insites or @joeri_insites for more info.

It’s amazing how quickly Tom Dice his funding is going. Over 55% in a matter of days is also for us an incredible sign of encouragement.
His previous album did amazing for the fans.

1 FanShares on SonicAngel costs 10 EUR, and gives:
- a full download of the albumhttp://www.flyingchaz.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1296&action=edit&message=6
- 1 free ticket for the release party of the album
and a share of the profit. The previous album returned 26+6,8 EUR already. That’s 32,8 for every 10 EUR.
That for sure beats the stock market nowadays!!!
You can still buy FanShares of Tom Dice here: http://www.sonicangel.com/artist/tomdice

It has been a busy week:
- Tom Dice is in funding since a couple of days (press release in dutch here below, for those interested).
- We’re launching in Germany (thursday) and France (friday) (click the tabs right on http://www.sonicangel.com)
- 2 new bands came on our funding platform: Shellcase and The Fortunate Few.
- Airis her single is doing amazing, Tom Dice is still number 3 in wallonia and keeps huge numers in France
- 7 artists are recording singles or albums
- we launched SonicAngel Classic, a close partnership with KlaraFestival – check it out at: http://klarafestival.sonicangel.com
- we’re finishing an amazing Lords of Acid album. This sounds soooo good, you’ll love it.

Next week, Mathieu & Guillaume will be featuring the very best funding video I’ve ever seen.

Now off to Berlin, where I’m launching SonicAngel Germany at the PopKomm conference + sit on a panel on the future of music and the possibilities of crowdfunding. 2nd time Berlin in a month or so. Love it!!

bart

FanFunding tweede album Tom Dice op SonicAngel loopt als een trein
– In enkele dagen reeds meer dan 50% volstort via de fans –

Tom Dice en SonicAngel hanteren opnieuw dezelfde principes voor het financieren en het lanceren van het tweede album. Het principe is eenvoudig: enerzijds kunnen de fans SonicAngel FanShares kopen, anderzijds zijn er weer een aantal exclusieve extra’s.

Een SonicAngel FanShare houdt in dat je voor 10 € recht hebt op een volledige digitale download van het album. Daarnaast krijgt iedere persoon ook een toegangskaart voor de releaseparty van het album. Bovendien wordt de winst van het album gedeeld met de fans.
Het eerste album ‘Teardrops’ bracht ondertussen reeds 32,8 €  per SonicAngel Fanshare op.

  • 26 € Eerste uitbetaling voor periode mei – oktober 2010 ,
  • 6,8 € Tweede uitbetaling voor het daaropvolgende semester.

Elke 6 maanden worden de resultaten gedeeld met de fans.

Daarnaast zijn er weer een beperkt aantal exclusieve producten, zoals bedrijfsconcerten aan 50% (slechts 5 beschikbaar), het bijwonen van een repetitie van de band, gesigneerde albums of het schrijven van een persoonlijk nummer.

Het principe van FanSharing blijft groeien. Bij SonicAngel zijn ondertussen 16 van de 17 bands die voorgesteld werden totaal gefinancierd, een succesratio van maar liefst 94%. Ook The Fortunate Few (die met Marillion reeds een eerste succes scoorden op Radio1) staan sinds begin deze week op het SonicAngel platform, naast de Amerikaanse Cynergy67 (55%) en het Vlaamse Newton (27%).

De eerste buitenlandse SonicAngel band – het zwitserse BAKXIII - haalde deze week hun totale funding op en is klaar om de studio in te duiken voor de opname van hun album. Perfecte timing voor de lancering van SonicAngel in Duitsland, waarvoor nu donderdag 8 september 2011 het officiële startschot zal worden gegeven door Bart Becks tijdens een persconferentie op de internationale PopKomm beurs in Berlijn.

Maar SonicAngel beperkt zich niet enkel tot Pop en Rock artiesten. Zo lanceerden we eind vorige week, in samenwerking met het KlaraFestival een gelijkaardig initiatief voor jonge klassieke muzikanten van 16 – 26 jaar. Meer hierover over http://klarafestival.sonicangel.com.

Bart Becks & Maurice Engelen, oprichters van SonicAngel, verwoorden het als volgt: “Het succes van SonicAngel bewijst dat crowdfunding meer en meer zijn ingang begint te vinden als een alternatieve financieringsmethode voor de creatieve industrie. Tom Dice, de eerste artiest die we op deze manier lanceerden, is zo de trekker geworden van een groot aantal jonge talenten die nu gelanceerd worden. Barefoot & The Shoes, Airis (nu in de charts), BAB, Mathieu & Guillaume, mastercab (de afrekening), VIENNA (winnaar music exposure awards), RadicalG (albumlancering op donderdag 8 mei) en een heel aantal anderen geven aan dat de combinatie van sociale media, een alternatieve financieringsmethode en innovatieve marketing een nieuw model voor de toekomst kan worden. “.

Praktisch:
Meer info op http://www.sonicangel.com/docs/nl/press

Tom Dice

Mathieu & Guillaume

Samenwerking Klarafestival en SonicAngel

Perscontact:
Femke Mussels, + 32 471733172 – femke@sonicangel.com
Bart Becks, +32 477 62 65 74 – bart@sonicangel.com