This morning we grabbed coffee with Polaris Ventures partner, Peter Flint.The Boston-based firm has a $3 billion+ fund and a strong New York presence. It is the force behind startup coworking space, DogPatch Labs.
Polaris Ventures’ investment thesis is broad, and it makes investments of all sizes, for as little as $20,000 and as much as $20 million. Its portfolio includes ShoeDazzle, LegalZoom, JibJab, and Turntable.fm.
Turntable.fm was formerly Stickybits, a QR code company founded by Billy Chasen and Seth Goldstein. Brands could stick QR codes on their products, and users could scan them for rewards.
While brands loved StickyBits, users didn’t adopt the product.
By January 2011, it became clear StickyBits wouldn’t work. The founders turned to investors and presented a few other ideas, just in case StickyBits failed.
“Billy is a great product guy. He came to us and said he had a few other ideas he had always wanted to try. We gave StickyBits a deadline, and asked him to flesh out another idea in the meantime. One of the ideas was Turntable.fm,” recalls Flint.
Within weeks, Turntable.fm went viral. Before long, celebrities like Sir Mix-A-Lot were using it too. The board pulled the plug on Stickybits and went full steam ahead with Turntable.fm, encouraging the founders to raise a bigger round of financing.
“The board and I trusted the founders,” says Flint. “But we also got lucky.”
Now, the group music listening site has raised $7 million at a rumoured valuation of $37.5 million. It has big-name music professionals on board, including The Roots and Madonna’s manager.
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