Ellen Hodges, 28, and Omayya Atout, 33, were in a fix.
When the Covid-19 pandemic cordoned off the world, the engaged couple lost their ability to perform live music in New York City. They still had their main jobs, but music was more than just a sideline: they relied on gig income to survive.
Desperate, they discovered an opportunity in April 2020 when a friend offered to pay them to write a song for his wedding. A day later, the couple founded in Brooklyn, New York Songlorious, an online marketplace where musicians can make money by writing and recording songs for weddings, birthdays, and other life events.
“Greeting cards, flowers, they all fall together because they’re kind of impersonal,” Atout said in the Friday episode of “Shark Tank” on ABC. “Sooner or later they end up in the trash.”
Business, Atout said, was going faster than he’d ever expected. Since launch, Songlorious has received at least 11,000 song requests from more than 160 musicians. Last year the company had sales of $ 700,000. It is slated to raise $ 2.5 million this year.
After four months, both co-founders gave up their main jobs – Hodges was a barista at Blue Bottle Coffee and Atout was production manager at Amtrak – to focus entirely on the growing business.
And on Friday, the couple landed an additional $ 500,000 from four of the five Shark Tank sharks – Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary and Peter Jones, a star investor on the UK sister show.The dragon’s den“- in exchange for a 40% stake in the company.
“I have a feeling that you are not a business man,” said Jones. “That’s why you’re here. You need help.”
The couple tried to contradict the offer, demanding $ 800,000 in exchange for 40% of the company’s equity. The sharks didn’t move. “Think about the amount of money you would have to pay to get four sharks like us,” said Jones.
The idea behind the company is not exactly new. Songlorious’ competitive advantage, Hodges explained, comes from its speed and degree of customization.
Each song is written from scratch and costs between $ 45 and $ 230, depending on length and instrumentation. According to the company’s website, artists start writing within 24 hours of a request and return with an original song within two to four business days.
Artists receive approximately 35-45% of the price of each song plus any tips. Songlorious bags do the rest.
Each of the four sharks offered to help in different areas of the business. O’Leary promised to help expand into the wedding market. John and Jones emphasized their ties to the American and international music industries, respectively. And Cuban offered to partner with another of its portfolio companies, the AI video maker synthesis.
“You have four people touching each base,” said Cuban. “This is a home run.”
Hodges and Atout also plan to use the money to expand their business offerings. “Whenever someone gets promoted or hired … buy them a custom song,” Hodges said.
More importantly, however, the pair is regularly relying on their new investors for strategic input.
“It’s going to be big,” said Jones.
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