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Vinyl Startup Qrates Talks Using Every Program Possible To Rise To The Top

For those that have been watching the music startup space closely, the name Qrates is one that should absolutely ring a bell. The vinyl-focused company has not only received its fair share of coverage in the media, it has just been announced as a participant in the newly-established Abbey Road Red music tech incubator. At the same time, the startup is set to present at this month’s SF MusicTech event, beating out the competition to nab one of just 10 coveted slots. It is clear that part of the strategy that those behind Qrates are utilizing to survive and stand out involves taking part in any and every event and program that will have it. That’s a smart way to go, as time spent in incubators and presenting in front of some of the biggest names in the music and startup industries can take a company to incredible new heights, but being chosen and accepted into these highly competitive events isn’t always easy.

I recently spoke with Qrates Chief Marketing Officer Taishi Fukuyama about how accelerators, incubators and competitions factor into the company’s growth strategy, and what’s next for the much-talked-about startup.



Hugh McIntyre: How much time do you spend looking for, researching and applying to startup competitions, incubators, accelerators, and so on?

Taishi Fukuyama: Having been in the industry longer than Qrates has been around, luckily we don’t have to spend much time on researching. However, I’m sure there are many other great programs out there that we don’t know of yet, and we’re always analyzing which programs and conferences we should be concentrating on. Considering that the U.S. and the U.K. are our top two markets, we are focused on accomplishing results there first.

McIntyre: Why do you think it’s so important for your company to be involved in so many different programs?

Fukuyama: Being a company headquartered in Tokyo and without physical presence or staff in the U.K. or U.S. (yet), I’ve concluded that it would be wiser to spend the time, capital and effort to be a part of these concentrated programs and conferences to have the product scrutinized directly by prospects and industry peers, leverage the publicity and networking, and for our brand building. Being accepted to the Abbey Road Red Incubator program has different effects in the U.S. versus in the U.K., and vice versa with winning the SF Music Tech Summit Startup Competition. As a cash-strapped startup looking to drive both U.S. and U.K. markets, we’re just trying to make the most splash with the limited resources we have.