Los Angeles Business Journal

LuckyPennie Banks on Cincinnati Accelerator

By Melissah Yang Tuesday, July 22, 2014

LuckyPennie has left its Mid-Wilshire office and set up shop in Cincinnati. But the decision to relocate wasn’t just a flip of a coin.

The social music app is one of 10 startups to join the latest class of The Brandery, an early stage startup accelerator in the Ohio city. Participants of the accelerator’s four-month program receive mentorships and $20,000 in seed funding.

LuckyPennie promotes music through social sharing, letting users recommend artists and bands to each other. After raising a family and friends round, the team launched an iOS app in late January. It has since grown to have more than 21,000 users.

While it might seem counterintuitive for a music tech startup to move away from the heart of the entertainment industry, Chief Product Officer John Wolanin said relocating made sense given the city’s oversaturated music market.

“Unless you’re a big player, it would be hard to rise to the top, but when you’re in a smaller market, you really can develop your brand,” Wolanin said. “And a lot of accelerators have an aversion to music. There’s a track history of failed music companies, and the litigation of copyrighted content makes it not worth getting into.”

Wolanin said the company plans to return to Los Angeles, but it was open to moving anywhere once it completes the accelerator program in October.

“With tech, it almost doesn’t matter as much where you live as long as the ecosystem is there and it’s supportive,” Wolanin said.

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.