Chris Clifford has more drive and determination than most 19 year olds. The LMU sophomore entrepreneurship major has always been fascinated by the power of the mind and its capacity for innovation. There was never a doubt in his mind that he wanted to be a creator and influence the way people interact and communicate. With the help of the CBA Business Incubator, Clifford is preparing to launch a social music-sharing app called Floshare.
Floshare is essentially a 45-second (or less) audio Twitter centered on music interaction. It’s quite simple really: users pick a beat, “flo” for 45 seconds, and share it with their peer network over the app. The app’s main focus is on the interaction piece and the virality of that sharing. Floshare will initially focus on hip hop and rap music with plans to expand into other music genres like pop, rock and alternative.
“There’s nothing else on the market that gives users such a social interactive experience,” said Clifford. “Early response has been very positive and we’ve received a good amount of interest from investors. We’ve managed to get really influential people on our board with vast music experience and have partnered with top companies in the music industry such as internationally known BeatStars, Building Blocks and Qubecell. We also have a diverse and knowledgeable board ranging from Tom Delonge, lead vocalist of Blink-182, to international tech mogul KVP Baskaran.”
Clifford is the brains behind this innovative idea and has worked hard to see it come to life. It all started about a year ago when he was at a party with friends playing around with Snapchat, an app that allows users to take photos/record videos and send them to a controlled list of recipients before they automatically disappear. They began sending freestyle raps over beats to each other through the app and discovered a fun new way to interact. Clifford immediately knew he was on to something good.
"The original concept for Floshare was very similar to Snapchat in that it combined the trend of people interacting with this newfound interest of sharing some piece of their lives with their friends and having it disappear without a trace,” said Clifford.
As luck would have it, LMU had just launched the Business Incubator and was looking for students with new business ideas for its inaugural class. After several meetings with Incubator Director David Choi, Clifford successfully sold his idea and was accepted into the program as the only freshman and youngest person in the class.
It was in the Incubator that Floshare pivoted from "Snapchat for Freestyle Rap" into a true social platform centered on music creation and interaction. Over the course of the semester, version 1 of the app was built and the target audience and sales and marketing strategy were nailed down.
Since then, Floshare has further evolved into an app for users to record whatever comes to mind over royalty-free, licensed music, giving them the ability to be instantly heard. It’s the SoundCloud for music interaction and Clifford envisions it will help artists around the world get heard through simple, social interactions. DJs and music producers will also be able to upload their beats and music onto the platform to gain exposure while providing content for users.
Floshare is comprised of a talented group of developers and forward thinkers with vast experience in the web and mobile development space. Floshare’s target audience is DJs, recording artists and urban music lovers. In order for this product to really flourish and take off, it’s essential to attain the proof of concept and get the app in user’s hands. Following a successful launch in the U.S., the team plans to expand to international markets like India, Singapore and London sometime in 2014 with help and facilitation from their international partnerships with Building Blocks and Qubecell. Floshare is also launching a college ambassadors program at LMU, USC, UCLA and other universities in Southern California to introduce the app to new audiences within its target demographic.
Leading up to Floshare’s February launch, the company recently initiated a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $20,000. The team will use the money to develop new functionality that will be implemented into version 1 of the app, giving users a more competitive experience that allows for quicker discovery. This capital will also go toward bringing in major recording artists and celebrities for users to interact with, as well as future expansion into other music genres.
Clifford is often asked how he plans to manage Floshare while enrolled as a full-time college student at LMU. He says it’s a matter of managing and prioritizing his time more effectively and being more balanced.
“Youth and inexperience in entrepreneurship can be an obstacle, but it's one that should be embraced, not feared,” said Clifford. “These obstacles push you to work harder than you ever have before, and your passion for what you're doing always gets you through. Once you've jumped the hurdle, it's the greatest feeling in the world. I have a lot more hurdles to jump, but it's awesome to know that we’re making progress and my dream is becoming a reality."
To learn more about Floshare, contact Chris Clifford at firstname.lastname@example.org