SoundCloud has often been called the YouTube of sound. Co-founder Alex Ljung has ambitions to see this come to fruition. When starting the company in 2007 he wanted SoundCloud to be to sound what YouTube is to video and what Flickr is to photos.
The Swedish startup set up HQ in Berlin, in the middle of what is becoming a hotbed of startup activity. Ljung calls the city a startup itself, an 'ever-changing and innovative, creative with a bit of an anti-establishment attitude.' Ever since the Berlin Wall was brought down the city has seen the growth of the creative industries technology, design, fashion and music while rents have stayed cheap.
SoundCloud has thrived and grown in it's surroundings and as well as taking over Europe they are now expanding into the US with a base in San Fransisco. The company has seen massive growth in the last year with over 4 million new users, taking the company to 5 million users in June of this year.
In 2009 SoundCloud received it's first investment of $3.32 million from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures a European Venture Capitalist. They then went on to raise $10 million in Series B funding from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures, adding Fred Wilson and Mike Volpi, respectively, to the team.
In the beginning
The Company launched its service to the public in October 2008. When going into the music industry there is often a battle between music labels and these audio sharing tech startups. The two founders Alex Ljund and Eric Wahlforss however, went in working with the artists and labels to try and ensure that copyrighted content is not shared.
Sound was a large part of Alex and Eric's lives and having worked with sound for a long time they realised that there was a lot that needed to be fixed. This is were it all began. See more in the video below, just ignore the Adidas logo at the end, the video was produced by them for SoundCloud.
Here is a bit of SoundCloud in action.