Slingshot raises $2.2 million to provide financial services to artists

Sanil Chawla remembers the encounters he had with countless artists in college. Those creatives were looking for one thing: a sustainable economic infrastructure that could help them scale instead of drowning them in paperwork, presentations, and receipt tracking.

Chawla thought he might have a solution and launched a music monetization platform in 2020. During the pandemic, he built the company into what it is today: Slingshot, which helps creatives find the tools they need to manage operational requirements. He even offers his own corporate card to help further centralize financial transactions on his platform.

“Today, too many talented creators are forced to spend countless hours navigating the complex financial and business challenges of being self-employed,” Chawla told TechCrunch. “Our goal is to leverage technology to dramatically simplify those tasks, allowing creatives to focus on what they love.”

On Monday, the company announced a $2.2 million pre-seed round, with participation from Dorm Room Fund, 1916 Enterprises, Key Partners Group and angel investor Vincent Francoeur, former head of web and mobile at Blizzard.

Slingshot emerged from the booming $250 billion creator economy, but it’s not the first company to try to build infrastructure for this bustling economy. It says it differentiates itself by centralizing its functions and data, offering automated accounting linked to your business card. It also works with banks to facilitate financial transactions, allowing creatives to manage their funds, make transfers and send payments. Its primary BaaS partner for customer accounts is Stripe through its Treasury and Issuance programs.

Image credits: Sling

It offers other features, such as allowing creatives to save a percentage of their income and offering benefits such as healthcare and retirement. Acts as human resources and is responsible for legal filing and tax documentation. Chawla, now 24, said it took him four years to prepare the pre-seed round as the company did it in batches. Smaller angel controls were needed in 2020 and then pivoted to its current version in 2023.

Slingshot began as a company that provided legal and financial infrastructure for musicians to grow their audiences without a label, and in a way that still allowed artists to control a significant portion of their royalties. He raised $50,000 from that idea and then another $1.2 million to develop it. At the end of 2022, the company pivoted. Their customers wanted more of a financial product and Slingshot followed what the customers asked for. He then spent last year and this year fundraising to close an additional $1 million in financing, bringing the company to where it is today.

Looking ahead, Slingshot has ambitious plans. It intends to raise funding again next year, leveraging the $2.2 million pre-seed round to improve its feature offering. This includes the development of an AI assistant, aiming to revolutionize the way creatives manage their operations. Chawla said better tools and infrastructure for the creative economy can help enable greater creativity and diverse artistic expression. “We’re still early in the journey, but I’m inspired by the impact we’ve had so far and all the potential ahead of us to do so much more,” he said.

This piece was updated to reflect Vincent Francoeur spellingname of.

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