FutureScope Black Founders Programme showcase celebrates tech entrepreneurs
Sony Music UK’s London HQ hosted a showcase of investment pitches from ten entrepreneurs selected for the FutureScope Black Founders Programme, a finale to the 16-week scheme launched by Sony Music UK and Digital Catapult.
Investors and industry executives heard from founders developing digital entertainment businesses, leveraging technology such as AI and machine learning, virtual reality and blockchain. From start-ups promoting Black-owned businesses, to those helping artists connect to their fans, from apps to facilitating collaboration on new tracks, to creating bespoke merch, the businesses demonstrated how technology can empower new ways to create, collaborate and build creative communities.
Launched in April 2023 by Sony Music UK and Digital Catapult, the FutureScope programme supported ten Black British entrepreneurs working in the digital entertainment space, aiming to help them get investment-ready and successfully scale their solutions. The accelerator was further bolstered by expert consultants and mentors, and a financial contribution to take part thanks to additional support from SoundCloud.
The event was hosted by Digital Catapult’s Innovation Partner Evelyn Ofori-Kuragu and Chief Strategy Officer Jessica Rushworth, alongside Cassandra Gracey, President of 4th Floor Creative.
Evelyn Ofori-Kuragu, Innovation Partner, Digital Catapult said: ‘The FutureScope Black Founders Programme marks an important moment for diversity in entrepreneurship, navigating a challenging investment terrain. By supporting these ten talented founders, Digital Catapult and Sony Music UK contribute to a future where technology and creativity intertwine, influencing the landscape of digital entertainment. It’s a celebration of innovative thinking and cultural evolution, paving the way for more inclusive and groundbreaking developments in the sector.’
Hari Ashurst-Venn, Director of Digital & New Tech, Sony Music UK added: “One of the key takeaways from the Futurescope Black Founders Showcase was the observation that Talent is distributed equally but opportunity is not, and this gets to the heart of why Sony Music UK launched this initiative with Digital Catapult. It was inspirational to see the ten Founders showcase their innovative visions of the future informed by the cultures that shaped them.”
Attendees also heard first-hand from an expert panel on ’Investing in Diversity: Strategies for Black Tech and Creative Entrepreneurs’ featuring programme consultants Hazel Savage, VP of Music Intelligence at SoundCloud, George Mensah, VC Investor at Sure Valley Ventures, and Dave Haynes, Founding Partner at FOV Ventures.
It was an inspirational evening and we are excited to follow the ten founders as they continue to grow, powering the British entertainment industry into the future.