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by bart becks⎜BECAUSE MUSIC MATTERS AND STARTUPS ROCK

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Category: Los Angeles

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

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

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…

Last Sunday I arrived in San Francisco. I was attending the SF Music Tech on Monday (which was quite amazing), and had a couple of meet-ups with SF partners plus visited a company named ‘Klout‘. This visit was related to the Belgian Webmission, a grassroots organised trips to SF and the valley.

On wednesday I left for LA. There I had a kindof meeting craze. Closed 2 huge deals which are going to take us to the next level. Met a ton of people, met 4 lawfirms, 2 financials partners, had dinner with a good friend of mine, and bought a cool present for my little dude :)

There’s a clear difference between SF and LA. One of the few is the respective love for tech and media/music. SF is all about tech. If you’re in the content side of the industry, you have nothing to win there. LA is business driven with always a focus on media, music or gaming. I read somewhere that in SF, everyone has a business idea for his own tech startup in the backpocket, while in LA most have a movie script with them. Both have in common that their’s an enormous entrepreneurial drive. Everyone is going after their wildest dreams: create a startup, make a movie, jam in your rockband, rething the gaming biz, … It’s such a difference with the belgian perspective. The best example is when I explan SonicAngel in the US, the answer is usually ‘ Wow, what an amazing idea and achievements already. This can be huge’. In Belgium, people usually ask if besides this music startup, I also have another job …

For some reason, I feel at home in LA. It’s really weird, but I blend into the city. The digital media startup scene in santa monica, the crazy vibe of hollywood, the amazing waves of malibu, the bursts of downtown, … If you can see through the fake cult of celebrity hunt, the city of Angels gets to you … Yep, like the eagles of death metal cynically sang: ‘I wanna be in LA’.

bart

http://www.flyingchaz.com

Eagles of death metal: I wanna be in LA.

Today we have Monica starting to work for SonicAngel from LA. Monica is really great, and while working on the communication of music companies, but also bands like Tool or Queens of the Stone Age (one of my favourite bands), she created amazing buzz. But buzz without substance is useless, so we waited until the platform is up and running. In the first day, we already got 30 bands requesting to join, and 15 or so uploaded on our US talent platform. Kinda cool :) But the road is long and our ambitions high. If our ideas work out, we can help to discover and release so many great artists…

This morning I listened again to some of the demo’s from mastercab, also a SonicAngel band. They have this unique sound, and I think the new songs are rough diamants!! They are currently in stubru’s De Afrekening and on The Hotlist. And we just got confirmation that they will be playing Dranouter aan Zee on May1st. Couldn’t describe it better than the Dranouter organisation “mastercab: is een Brusselse band en één van de opkomende talenten in de muziekwereld. Hun eerste album zal een mengeling zijn van elektro, gitaren en beats.” Discover more on their site: www.mastercab.be

Today we’re also checking out video producers. We have a lot of upcoming singles, but the production cost of the video’s we have been making has to come down. The financials in the music bizz have completely changed, and having a video just doesn’t guarantee a hit or even airplay anymore, even if online video is becoming the N#1 discovery tool. So our motto will be: get frugal on the videos. Frugal means: the best quality on the lowest price. We always decided together with our artists on every investment, but I already noticed that they pre-agree :) Please shoot recommendations for producers. And thanks for your help in the zendesk experiences. A lot!

I’ve been reading through a potential subsidy for the European Commission. But it’s really complicated and time consuming. But today will be the day that I crack the code of getting in, need to finish the business plan by thursday.

Voila, full day ahead. On top of that, I forgot these holidays. So no school for my little Charlie. He’s now at my parents house, and it’s a WHOLE lotta fun. Movies with boempa, soep (he loves soup), spelen met Lien en Lieze (the kids of my sister), fietsen, steppen and walking around w Moeke :) Nothing beats a day full of Limburg fresh air :)

bart / @bartbecks

RadicalG is the fastest funded artist ever. In only 3 days, he collected his budget on www.sonicangel.com and got all the fans to support him. Next, we invited him to be the opener at the SonicAngel tour with Lords of Acid in de US. That’s how quick it can go. One day he was thinking, the other day he has a record deal and making a tour that makes most Belgian bands just dream! Who else can say they toured in 22 cities, with crowds of 1000 tot 2500 people, from Los Angeles, to Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, Florida, Texas and back to California…

Connect with him here on facebook.:

Today, we’re showing you the preview of his video:

RadicalG: ‘Lucifer’

It’s Sunday March6. So much things happening at our company. Just to give you a snapshot:

1. Lords of Acid and SonicAngel opener RadicalG are touring the USA. On Sunday, we’re playing Seattle. Reviews are really strong, and you can see a video right here
2. Tom dice played for the first time in Vorst, opening for Taylor Swift. Great singer, entourage, manager… Sold 19 million albums and 33 million singles. 10.000 is gold in Belgium nowadays … Tom and band are becoming quite a strong band! You should discover them, they’ll surprise you. Happy that I could arrange this gig for Tom, both in Brussels and in Rotterdam tomorrow. Reactions were … wow.
3. On top of that, a full concert of Tom Dice was broadcasted on VT4 after the finale of lost.
4. Barefoot and the shoes played an amazing gig in Leuven. These guys will be the revelation of 2011-2012. Incredible artists, music from the heart, working like hell to get there. We’ll be playing quite some shows across belgium, try to catch them to be amazed how a 16 and 18 year old and their band can capture an audience. Love them.
5. we kicked off our audition booth in Belgium searching for new talent on standard.sonicangel.com (already 5 candidates)
6. we also kicked off our audition booth in USA searching for more talent: audition.sonicangel.com (already 10 candidates)

and to finish it off: late at night VIENNA got fully funded !!! THIS IS OUR 11th fully funded artist in 2011 in Belgium !!! continue reading…

Since I kept on working until 5am on Saturday morning, I slept until around noon. Femke and my little boy went out with her sister and kids, and I prepared my bike a little. Wanna start riding again as of next wednesday. Need some time to prepare.

Lords of Acid have a new lead singer, named DJ MEA. I think she’s AMAZING. Great voice, attitude and stage presence. Below you’re find a video of the gig in San Francisco. continue reading…

* Went to see ‘Runkskop‘ for the 2nd time this evening. Femke hadn’t seen it yet. M Schoenaerts as lead actor, directed by debutant M Roskam… Fuck man, what a movie… Impressive smack in your stomach and mind. Bravo to all, certainly to my good friend Peter Bouckaerts who co-produced the movie. The only negative point, and I cannot understand this remains in, is the semi-comic persiflages of the wallonian characters which are played dumb, ridiculous and tv-sketchy. Even with the intermezzo of 2 clownesk garagists, this movie is amongst the better flemish movies ever made. And Matthias Shoenaerts just showed he is the leading actor of his generation, lifting the movie at every appearance…

* After the movie, started working on our release plan and actions for the US. We’re now launching the SonicAngel audition booth to open up for american bands. We have already signed our first 2 bands, and now need to release fast and furious. Just had a coordination call with my partner Maurice (yes, I’m aware it’s 3 am :) . Amazing reactions in the US. Maurice is experiencing it on the road, and here are 2 cool articles:

Enroll here to audition for the SonicAngel USA (and Canada) roll-out.

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