After Bunker Labs EPIC program, This Music-Tech Startup Keeps On Beat

Photo Credit: Jonathan Jones

Startup Southerner has partnered with Bunker Labs Nashville to bring you stories of veteran entrepreneurs in Tennessee.

When asked what he enjoyed most about the inaugural Bunker Muster Nashville event, Stephen Davis will immediately tell you about executive director Blake Hogan’s socks. “They were the most dazzling and patriotic footwear ever witnessed,” says Davis. “He’ll be hard pressed to outdo himself from last year. But if he reads this, I know he’ll accept the challenge.”

Davis, co-founder of music-tech startup Ear.IQ, may have found those socks to be the most memorable of that day, but it was really his pitch that got the attention of several organizations in the room. Talks are currently on hold with the interested party, but the company continues to make headway. The most important progress came in the form of a patent for Ear.IQ’s technology, which was granted earlier this year.

“This is nothing short of incredible and clears the way to complete development and take the product to market,” says Davis. “The growth of streaming music continues to skyrocket, and there will be an estimated 6-billion-plus smartphones worldwide by 2020. Ear.IQ can provide custom, prescription audio for everyone — regardless of musical genre or language.”

(In having gone through the patent process several times, Davis offers the following advice: “If you plan to seek a patent to protect your idea, then I advise you to pace yourself. There’s no need to spend a ton of money and build the product before the patent is awarded without knowing if your idea is protectable.”)

While Davis was part of the first Nashville EPIC cohort, he’s no stranger to the entrepreneurial path. He had previously been part of growing several startups when he filed the provisional patent application for the Ear.IQ concept in 2014. Later, that same year, Ear.IQ was selected to be part of Project Music accelerator’s first cohort.

Davis says one of the most valuable assets that Project Music offered was its extensive network of industry connections. An Army veteran who enlisted in the military immediately after high school, Davis initially applied to be part of the Bunker Labs Nashville’s 2016 EPIC program to find a complementary network of connections. “The program exceeded my expectations.”

With the Muster Across America-Nashville event coming back in May, Davis is excited to attend for several reasons. “I’m looking forward to catching up with last year’s Bunker Lab participants and learning about their progress,” says Davis. “I’m also very much looking forward to seeing the pitch presentations of this year’s cohort.” As for the success of the program, he credited Blake Hogan and Nate Carden for their persistence and dedication to the Bunker Labs mission of serving Veteran entrepreneurs, as well as the Nashville business community for their support and help in making Bunker Labs Nashville one of the most successful Bunker Labs locations.

When asked “why veteran entrepreneurs?”, Davis specifically referred to his own observations of military personnel, “Veterans are extremely driven and creative problem solvers. The combination makes for amazing business models.”