Gobbler Raises $1.5 MillionFriday, January 25, 2013
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that Chris Kantrowitz's sister and Gobbler co-founder is named Jamie.
When entrepreneur Chris Kantrowitz was 13, he visited the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with his dad to check out the latest in stereo equipment and video games.
While playing the games, he came up with the idea of charging the developers to test and review their products. By the end of the conference he had a stack of business cards and a new video game testing business.
Kantrowitz drew on that same entrepreneurial instinct years later when he was working with musicians and realized how difficult it was to save, organize and share complex music files on computers.
So he cleared out his bank account in 2010 and went into business with his sister, Jamie, to develop Gobbler, a software platform for storing and sharing music files through the cloud.
The product has become so popular with musicians that Gobbler announced Thursday a $1.5 million funding round led by One Republic singer and songwriter Ryan Tedder, musician and actor Jared Leto and music manager Troy Carter.
“Our mission was not to say that we have a famous investor,” Kantrowitz said. “All the people who’ve invested are very active participants in this company. I get active feedback from them.”
Gobbler started as a consumer-focused business, offering monthly and annual subscriptions to its cloud storage platform. People can still sign up for the plans, which cost anywhere from $4 to $30 a month or $40 to $300 a year.
But the company has gradually shifted to an enterprise model. Large creative software companies such as Adobe have developed their own cloud platforms, but Kantrowitz said he wants Gobbler to give smaller software companies similar capabilities.
The company announced its first such partnership with audio software firm Avid Pro Tools. Now Avid can sync with Gobbler’s technology to automatically save files. People can also share their files and work on them simultaneously from separate computers.
“It’s not easy to build this software platform unless you have massive scale,” Kantrowitz said. “Our business is to create the cloud platform for other companies to provide to their users.”
The company’s funding will be used to develop new features for its platform and develop more enterprise partnerships.
Music technology companies are hot commodities in Los Angeles at the moment. Gobbler counts Sky Dayton, founder of EarthLink and Boingo Wireless, and Mike Jones, former Myspace chief executive and founder of incubator Science, as investors and board members.
Matt Coffin, founder of LowerMyBills and an active L.A. angel investor, said he contributed to Gobbler’s last funding round because its enterprise business model gives it a built-in customer base and the potential for a network effect to boost growth.