It all started with an anonymous email I received last summer which led to an appointment in a café in early fall to discover this intriguing product and entrepreneur. A few weeks later we met again at the Sonic Vision Music Lab festival, the unmissable event of the tech music scene in Luxembourg. Finally, a few days later, the first full-scale beta test was carried out at the 20th Startup Apéro, the must-attend monthly afterwork event in Luxembourg city. It’s time for me to introduce you to the startup EPIQUR and to get to know its co-founder, Murat Aliravci.
by: Charles-Louis Machuron
featured: Murat Aliravci
Listen to article (Part I)
Tell us about your startup.
We believe that real life events will be digitalized in the upcoming “boundless connectivity” era with 5G and IoT; and people will experience these events digitally from wherever they are with their VR headsets, TVs, computers or smartphones.
As a result, we created EPIQUR, a live streaming platform for music performances and other live events. People can stream their events and generate revenue. On top of that, in order to technically support our content creators, we created EPIQUR Gear, the most affordable and easiest high-quality live streaming solution in the market.
How did you come up with the idea?
Back in 2017, my cofounder Cihan was working in San Francisco and he was occasionally performing as an amateur DJ. One day he wanted to stream his performance online. So, he tried to livestream and record it. Then he realized how complex and expensive the process was. In the end, he called me, explained the problem and I was already convinced to work on the problem with him as a side hustle. We started to work on an IoT live broadcasting solution that enabled high-quality audio-visuals but was also affordable for all, which we now call “EPIQUR Gear.” The tool itself was just an initial step because we realized that a brand-new user experience was needed for events. So, we adapted the ultimate vision of becoming the leading digital event hub with a platform. We then developed EPIQUR.tv, a live streaming platform integrated with our IoT solutions, in order to monetize these streams effectively, democratizing the industry and empowering creators.
“Music is the second most popular content for live streaming just after breaking news.”
What are your products/services?
EPIQUR is a web and iOS platform (very soon an Android and TV app too) to provide a specific user experience and new revenue channels for the upcoming “digitalization of events” trend. Users create pre-scheduled events on the platform and each event can contain more than one stream inside, because events have breaks in real life, unlike the streams on YouTube, Twitch and so on. Besides, each stream can also contain more than one camera angle or video source. Users can then select the one they would like to watch. With live polls, chats and different gamification models, the user engagement increases. Moreover, content creators can sell digital access tickets to their events, receive donations or obtain monthly subscription fees while providing exclusive (subscriber-only) content to their subscribers. We plan to implement ad revenue sharing and merchandizing models in the future as well.
EPIQUR also provides EPIQUR Gear and other technical solutions to support its content creators. EPIQUR Gear captures the clean audio from audio mixers, which have to be used pretty much everywhere together with microphones and speakers. The video, which is optional, is captured by smartphones through the EPIQUR app. In the end our streaming engine merges and synchronizes both streams to create one audio-visual stream. This way, users can create live content in professional quality without the use of expensive equipment, technical stuff and complex software. We also enabled multicasting feature for our premium users, which means that the same live stream can be created on other platforms like YouTube with just one click. Besides they can place their or their sponsors’ logos in the video. Our vision with the tools side is to replace the live production needs starting from mid and low-budget events, so that we can support our content creators with an end-to-end solution.
Listen to article (Part II)
Who are your clients?
Musicians, festivals, venues, theatres, teachers, public speakers and so on are all our potential content creator users. On the other hand, people who would like to attend these digital events are our target content consumers.
We have chosen the music industry as our initial target. Music is the second most popular content for live streaming just after breaking news. Due to the nature of the industry, they are always trying to reach more audiences and increase their digital presence. So far, we have worked with more than 200 musicians, venues & music festivals and have reached more than 150k views with no real marketing. Because musicians are already influencers, this should hopefully solve the chicken-egg dilemma. Some of these musicians have already become paying premium users.
Our second target at this stage is events like panels and courses. So far, we have been directly approached by some influencer speakers, panel organizers and companies. After our collaboration with them, we have captured paying premium users in this domain too. Thanks to your tech vision, we have collaborated with Silicon Luxembourg and hopefully will continue this partnership in the years to come.
“Thanks to Technoport SA and Rocklab-Rockhal, we had a chance to meet with some of the pioneers of the music industry during Sonic Visions.”
What is your business model?
The main revenue channel is the commission channel. EPIQUR receives a small commission from digital access ticket sales, donations and monthly subscriber contributions. Besides advertisements and merchandizing, sales will also be a source of income. Our goal is to democratize the live stream and share the revenue with our users as much as possible.
We also have a premium user model for content creators, which includes the giveaways of EPIQUR Gear and premium platform features.We would, however, like to keep it as low-cost as possible, just to cover the costs of hardware and these additional server-side features. We do not see it as a revenue channel, but rather a customer acquisition channel by providing features that are not provided by any other service in the market.
What did the Startupbootcamp bring you?
At the first half of 2019, we attended Startupbootcamp’s Commerce Program in Amsterdam. During the 3 months acceleration program, we received intense mentorship from experienced advisors within startup ecosystem. Among all, I think the highest emphasis was on pitching. We optimized our pitches for different audience types, which is really helpful when communicating your products and services. They also helped in managing the incorporation process of our company in Amsterdam. In many ways, they helped our ideas and efforts to become a real company. We are still in close relationship with them and have access to their vast network.
“We have been bootstrapping since the end of 2017, outside a small and smart pre-seed investment. Therefore, now it is time to receive a seed investment.”
What did your participation at Sonic Visions bring you?
Thanks to Technoport SA and Rocklab-Rockhal, we had a chance to meet with some of the pioneers of the music industry during Sonic Visions. I received valuable feedback from its potential users, acquired an important network and obtained paying clients during the event. We are still working closely with this network and it seems like we will have further collaboration around the live streaming of music and stage performances.
We have been bootstrapping since the end of 2017, outside a small and smart pre-seed investment. I think we showed that there is a product-market fit for our product and we can do a lot with more resources. Therefore, now it is time to receive a seed investment. Our aim is to manage our business operations in Amsterdam while keeping the product development in Istanbul to decrease costs. Even though I have been living around Luxembourg, I will probably have to move in Amsterdam to manage the business operations there, as I spend a lot of time traveling back and forth.
After raising a seed investment round, we plan to invest our resources into two areas. First is setting aside some moneyfor our marketing initiatives.. We have already created success with no marketing budget and now is the time to enlarge our user base. Second is the development of features that will totally eliminate and replace the live streaming production needed at the tool side, as this will improve the user experience of the platform. We are very excited about the product, because we have amazing plans and designs in our minds to democratize the live broadcasting industry. Stay tuned for our developments in 2020!