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Applications open for 2022 music tech startup pitch competition

Music Tectonics’s Swimming with Narwhals competition spotlights creative startups

Returning to Los Angeles for a fully in-person event in 2022, the annual Music Tectonics (MT) industry conference focuses on the crossover between music and technology.

With finalists pitching for investment at the conference, MT’s ‘Swimming with Narwhals’ is a competition for innovative company founders responding to the ‘seismic shifts’ in music and technology.

According to MT conference director Dmitri Vietze, ‘Making space for startups to shine has been essential to my vision for the conference from the get-go.

‘When I founded my own startup, attending conferences was the single most important thing for my business. Besides, startups bring creative energy and future-thinking that everyone in the industry needs to tune into. It’s a win-win for everyone, not just the competition winners.’

Why Narwhals? According to the organisers, the ‘unicorn whale’ represents the spirit and goals of the competition and pokes fun at the cultural obsession with billion-dollar ‘unicorn startups.

Applications are open at Music Tectonics’ website until 29 July, 2022. An expert panel will select ten semi-finalists to pitch online to a jury (including Meng Ru Kuok, BandLab Technologies CEO and investor).

Four finalists will go on to demonstrate their products and present final pitches in person at the conference on 25-27 October in Santa Monica.

The winner of the first ‘Swimming with Narwhals’ competition, Jacquelle Amankonah Horton, sees the experience as a springboard for her startup, now called Fave, a platform for fans to unite and support their favorite artists with passion and creativity.

Horton said, ‘Winning the Music Tectonics startup competition completely catapulted my company. It was the first time I spoke publicly about my vision outside of moonlighting on the project, and the direct support I received from the judges, industry leads who saw or heard of me from this stage, and the amazing fellow attendee community is what led to me closing a $2.2M seed round from top industry companies just a few months later.’

Information for applicants


Via the Music Tectonics website.


Applicant companies must

  • be less than 5 years old
  • have a working demo of a product/service/platform or a finished product
  • work in any part of the music innovation ecosystem: creating, distributing, listening, or monetising music; managing rights or data, engaging fans, running live music events, and more
  • purchase at least one conference badge to be eligible for the startup competition. Early Bird rate badges are available through 11 August at musictectonics.com/conference


  • 11 July 2022: Applications open
  • 29 July 29: Applications close
  • 7 September: Semi-finalists pitch at online Swimming with Narwhals event
  • 25 October: Startup Carousel demos at the Music Tectonics Conference in Santa Monica, CA.
  • 26 October: Finalists pitch in-person at the Music Tectonics Conference in Santa Monica