Having a business idea is one thing. Developing it into a living, breathing startup is a whole other animal entirely. Fortunately, for David Velasco, this challenge is a fruit always ripe for the picking. A third-year undergraduate composition student, he is already an accomplished businessman, having been involved in fledgling startups for years.
Velasco hails from Barcelona, Spain. After briefly pursuing music at the Liceu Conservatory, he received a degree in graphic design from the University of Barcelona before moving to the United States seven years ago. But it was an auspicious musical opportunity that set him on the path that brought him to SFCM.
“I got a commission to write music for a dance company in Seville,” says Velasco. “I started writing the piece, and, after finishing it, I loved what I came up with—about a 20-minute piece. I approached [SFCM faculty member] Elinor Armer and started taking private lessons with her in Berkeley.”
Armer began suggesting the idea of getting his bachelor’s degree in music. “I thought I would feel old coming to the Conservatory, but she made a good point about the context, the people I would meet there. I love it, I don’t regret it one second. I’ve met some amazing people.”
Velasco is the co-founder of Home Sweet Flowers, a company that began as a bicycle flower delivery service and is now a go-to vendor for weddings and corporate events with clients as high profile as the San Francisco Giants. Through his success in the business world, he has now managed to zero in on a way to make his passion for music speak in terms of his own brand of professional success.
He is also the co-founder of the startup BeMusical (BeMusic.al), a new platform connecting musicians for jobs, collaboration opportunities, and personal projects. “It’s a place where you can find performers, find teachers, connect with them, hire them for lessons, and book them for performances,” says Velasco, outlining his vision for the enterprise. “That’s our entry into what we really want to accomplish. By having these tools, we’ll be able to get a lot of musicians to join us and then we can create a place where we can connect with one another, follow what we do, and improve the professional development of networking in the music industry.”
It’s a lofty goal, but one Velasco is keen to take on. Live music as a service, in terms of both performing and teaching, has been slow to enter a centralized marketplace in this age of apps and web products. BeMusical aims to change that. Velasco and his business partner, SFCM alumnus Roman Baranskiy, independently came up with the fundamental underpinnings of BeMusical and decided to combine their ideas to create a new platform that would speak to the needs of today’s musicians.
Velasco does not see his seemingly natural business acumen as a hindrance to his pursuing composition, but rather a complement to his studies and career path. “I would like to think that I can do both things: compose and do well in business,” he says. “My primary goal right now with the business I’m trying to get going is helping the musical community. In that way, it’ll help me as well to be a better composer and have a platform for things that we need as musicians.”
He takes inspiration from American composer Charles Ives. “He created his own insurance company and made a fortune doing so. I want to be in a place where I can help people, where I’m financially okay, and where I can write music for my own personal sake.”