Los Angeles Business Journal

Twenty in Their 20s: Matt Sandler

Monday, May 13, 2013

MATT SANDLER, 25

Chromatik, an app for music performance and teaching, Santa Monica

EMPLOYEES: 15

FINANCIALS: Minimal revenue.

What led you to start your own company?

With the convergence of mobile and collaboration technology, I saw an opportunity to build the largest active network of music learners in the world. So I went for it.

Where did you get the startup money?

To get the company off the ground, my good friend and now Chromatik COO, Fletcher Riehl, assembled a small group of angel investors to invest in my earliest iteration of Chromatik. Since then, we’ve been fortunate to bring on board fantastic investors to support the Chromatik team in a larger capacity including Learn Capital, 500 Startups, Kapor Capital, Bruno Mars, Launchpad LA, MuckerLab and others.

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is identifying priorities. In building a young company, there’s so much that you can be doing at every minute, it’s overwhelming. I try to keep a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly priority list to make sure that we, as a team, are always working effectively toward our bigger mission.

What was the most important lesson you learned?

Your team matters more than anything in your business.

How many hours a day do you put in?

Too many, but never enough.

Does your youth lead to awkward situations, such as when you supervise older workers or meet with clients and investors?

Venture capital and music are two industries dominated by seasoned veterans who typically work with younger creatives. So, it’s not always too bad. But I’ve certainly gotten my share of being called “son” or “kid.” It comes with the territory.

Could you ever work for someone else?

Under the right circumstances, yes, of course. I hear far too many entrepreneurs brag that they’re now unemployable or that they could never work for anyone else now that they’ve gotten a taste of startup life. Rather than say that I could never work for someone else, I’d turn it around to say that I now know much more about what drives me, the environment I thrive in and the people I want to surround myself with.

What do you do to relax?

Spend time with my wife and puppy, play saxophone and travel when we can.