Local Startup Leaders: KillerBoomBox
KillerBoomBox is an online music magazine driven by G Valentino Ball, Brandon Matthews, and Darius Mcroey’s long-time passion for Urban music. Ball and his partners are using a unique form of internet media to showcase new music and reviews to other Bostonians, and the world.
1. What originally inspired you to start your own business?
My partners and I were told that urban music & entertainment content presented intelligently wasn’t being looked for by people in New England and beyond. We were told that it couldn’t all live under the same roof. New Hip Hop and R&B artists couldn’t exist with dance hall’s finest or some dance music. I got sick of people telling me that there wasn’t an audience beyond tits, ass, and bum fights. We’re not trying to hear that the audience didn’t want the best of the ‘Net plus original content created by people passionate about bringing it in an intelligent (and sometimes smart-ass) way. We wanted to create a spot where fresh, wise ass music nerds like ourselves could spread the gospel of good music. So we went and got some of our friends and we decided to go hard. Plus the idea of creating a new media voice in Boston was intriguing to us. The idea that the game has flattened a bit along with Boston’s history of being part of the foundation of urban music made us feel like we could be here and make something great.
2. Have you run into any challenges that you did not expect?
A few. Taking your good idea and turning it into a good business is challenging. The beauty of being in Future Boston’s Accelerator is that we have the ability to get advice on how to navigate the landscape. I’m more confident than ever about our standing.
3. How has being located in Boston affected the start-up process?
Boston is the perfect place for us. There is a wealth of untapped talent and energy that is unique here. That said I think there are still some challenges to getting up and running in Boston like real estate. Boston is a great town but it’s increasingly less affordable for folks starting out. So that effects the businesses and the people who work for them. That makes it hard to retain talent unless you are funded like people believe you’re the next Google.
I think that Boston is in an interesting place right now. With a new mayor coming into office soon, a massive turn over on City Council and lots of new leadership throughout city government, we are at a crossroads. A lot of the buzz in the mayoral election has been about supporting the creative economy. More and more people are starting to understand that while the innovation economy might be sexy, the creative economy has the chance to make a long lasting impact as well. In fact the creative is key to building an atmosphere that makes people stay. That change in leadership could help that flourish. If so we will definitely benefit from a city that’s more receptive to the arts & entertainment community. I think the city will be making more of an effort to help businesses get off the ground because that’s good for the city. The Town is a good place to be.
4. Where do you see your business being a year from now?
Our goal is to be funded and staffed in the next year. Having a home for our staff is key to our expansion and growth. Also we will have more correspondents in other cities to help expand our coverage of the culture.
5. How can Boston encourage start-ups and small businesses to thrive in the city?
Part of what can help the start up community in Boston is the expanding the idea beyond tech and medical start-ups. Those companies are great but finding the next Facebook is not going to be our only saving grace. The city needs to focus on making it affordable to stay in Boston. That’s how we can retain the talent and the businesses they populate. Also we have to start being the world class city we are. That means better schools for the people here and the people who come here and want to start families. That means better transportation. That means police and the community working together to allow for better nightlife options. All of these things are key to helping build a playing field for startups.