LÜM, a social music discovery app, has been named the winner of the 2018 Pressure Chamber competition.
Held at the Overture Center in Madison, the popular annual pitch competition kicked off the eight-day Forward Fest on Thursday, Aug. 16. Five finalist companies pitched in front of a live audience and a panel of judges, including Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce vice president Kevin Little, Mercury Fund managing director Adrian Fortino, MATH Venture Partners managing director Dana Wright, and Rise of the Rest Seed Fund analyst Aia Sarycheva. Little served as the event’s host.
“To know that we are able to validate the belief in the things we are doing—it is so exciting to see other people believe in us and to have that passion surrounding us,” said LÜM co-founder and CEO Max Fargus. “The biggest thing for me is thinking about the success that any company who has competed in Pressure Chamber has had and what they have been able to accomplish. They have all been exceptionally successful.”
LÜM is a streaming platform that is built on a social network that helps emerging artists circulate their music and grow their fan base. Artists can upload their content and engage with fans on the platform, and then fans discover artists and tracks by sharing, ranking and engaging with their friends and communities.
Pressure Chamber allowed audience members to ask questions of the presenting companies, with the winner chosen based off the judges’ scores and audience votes. In front of an audience of about 250 startup community supporters, each presenter was allowed five minutes to make his or her pitch, followed by a seven-minute question-and-answer session with the judges and audience.
In addition to winning the coveted “golden suitcase,” LÜM will receive a $5,000 consulting package and a spot on the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s exclusive Madison-area startup delegation’s trip to San Francisco in October for meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms and venture capitalists. There, Fargus and his team will have the opportunity to further pitch their streaming service, which made its debut on iOS on Friday, Aug. 17.
“We spent a long time when we started LÜM debating if we should go somewhere else. Music is so big on the East and West Coasts, but in the end, we decided that there was no better place to start than Madison,” Fargus said. “It had to be Madison, not only because of the resources available, but also because of the culture around the music and how supportive the people here are.”
The other 2018 finalist companies included:
- AmebaGone – Harnesses the power of the soil microbiome to develop safe, sustainable solutions to treat plant disease.
- Breathe For Change – A platform that provides trainings and certifies educators as experts in wellness and social/emotional learning.
- DataChat – Democratizes data analytics by allowing users to glean insights from data by holding a conversation with a chatbot in English and enabling business users to “drive” through data using a patented conversational approach.
- GymDandy – Helps parks, schools and sports complexes sell, schedule and manage their athletic space online.
In the four years of Pressure Chamber’s existence, participating companies have gone on to raise more than $105 million from investors, and each winning company — Fishidy, bluDiagnostics, POLCO and DotCom Therapy — has credited the initiative for helping it close successful funding rounds. Other past Pressure Chamber participating companies have included EatStreet, Propeller Health, Redox, Datica, Fetch Rewards, HealthMyne, Cardigan, AkitaBox and Moxe.
“Our entrepreneurs are skilled. Our entrepreneurs are passionate,” said Little. “This event is about supporting our companies and our entrepreneurs, because we have momentum here.”
Pressure Chamber has been recognized by the International Economic Development Council and Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Summit as an entrepreneurship and economic development best practice.