If you’ve never been to our space and picture a quiet, cubicle dense environment, it’s pretty much the opposite. Walking by our café will more than likely introduce you to some great tunes and playlists curated by our resident music members Zain & Colin of the www.thesoundgaarden.com.
Name: The Sound Gaarden
Founders: Zain Khan & Colin Gordon
Founding Year: November 2015
Team Size & Designations: 2 (CEO + Head of Global Music)
Your startup in one line, GO!: A consolidated music platform.
So What’s Your Background?
Zain: Ex-banker, musician and business development man who studied Economics & Philosophy at the University of Virginia who quickly moved into the startup space wanting to create better experiences for people.
Colin: An ex-record label owner & tour manager in LA, Vegas and San Francisco who joined the team after randomly meeting Zain through a friend. He studied Ethnomusicology (hyperlink for the curious) at UCLA.
Why did you start The Sound Gaarden?:
Zain: So right after university, I made a blind and conventional decision to join a bank in New York without ever considering if that’s where I wanted to be. After 10 months of 19 hours I reached the verge of burning out and realized this was not where I saw myself, at all.
There were two main reasons to how I ended up starting the Sound Gaarden: growing up in Dubai and being a musician myself. Growing up here as a musician made me privy to how close to impossible it is to make a career out of it.
I ended up realizing there is a lack of musical diversity and experiences in this highly transactional city. We have incredible talent here that needs to be nurtured, developed and showcased to the world.
Where do you see The Sound Gaarden in 3 years?
The first touch point for all music in the region through an end to end music management and data aggregating platform. Our goal is to make the biggest thing come out of this region and build the infrastructure for musicians who want to know that being an artist is a viable career choice and probably the best one.
What’s the biggest crisis you have faced in your startup, and what did you learn from it?
Our biggest potential crisis is a persistent one, Cashflow. It’s a ticking time bomb, always. We can make it through anything but we can’t make it through a bill that pops out of nowhere. Beyond cashflow, it is finding the right people in the region. Talent is a big issue, so is the infrastructure and ecosystem. We take huge risks as much as possible, I mean we’re selling music in the Arab world to venues that sometimes may not do that, so investors and incubators alike should be taking the same levels of risk.
Bottom line is you learn to adapt and play the game. That’s what it all is. Don’t take it too seriously and ask for forgiveness, not permission.
Any parting words you’d like to share?
Come through to OYE at The Backyard on July 7th to get a taste of some amazing local music.
Also published on Medium.