Techweek Elevator: Reverb

Techweek Elevator is the elevator pitch as a two-minute read. We spotlight up-and-coming movers and shakers for investors and startup enthusiasts.

Mission
The idea for Reverb.com stemmed from the frustration musicians feel when trying to buy and sell music gear online. Traditional platforms, such as eBay, are expensive and generally provide a poor user experience since they’re not tailored for musicians. At the end of the day, you don’t want to purchase your music gear on a site where you can also buy a car or a pair of sneakers.

Reverb was created by musicians for musicians looking for an easy, affordable, and safe way to buy and sell new, used, handmade, and vintage gear. Additionally, the marketplace was built to inspire musicians to discover more ways to expand their sound and to serve as the catalyst for the most vibrant and inspired music community online.

Market
When Reverb launched, the site was geared largely toward guitars, but it has since expanded into studio gear, synthesizers, drums, orchestra equipment, and more. Globally, new and used music gear is a $23 billion market. Such a huge opportunity exists and will continue to exist because instruments generally don’t lose value over time.

In terms of our competition, we’re dramatically less expensive than sites like eBay. That means musicians keep more money in their pocket — or they have more money to put towards new gear. We’ll continue to win against generic marketplaces, because unlike eBay or Craigslist, our entire site is built by and for musicians. More than just selling products, we’re cultivating a community where musicians can discover and learn about gear.

Model
At the end of the day, our strategy is simple: make it easy to buy and sell music gear online. We think about what we, as musicians, want when we buy gear and we integrate that into the site. That’s why we have the Reverb Price Guide, which aggregates real-time transactional information to help users understand the value of the music gear they are buying and selling. It’s why we continuously develop content to help customers learn about the instruments they’re buying, discover new gear, and more. We also have a large Customer Engagement team comprised of musicians. That means when you call, email, or chat Reverb, you’ll not only get a real person on the other end — you’ll get a musician.

Management
Reverb’s founder and CEO, David Kalt, is no stranger to building successful technology companies. As Co-founder and CEO, he took online broker optionsXpress public in 2005 before the company was sold to Charles Schwab. Not long after purchasing well-known music equipment shop Chicago Music Exchange, Kalt started Reverb in response to the frustrations he felt while trying to buy and sell guitars online.

From the beginning, Kalt has surrounded himself with tech gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs — and his team continues to grow. In 2015, Reverb doubled its headcount and the company is on track to far surpass that in 2016.

Momentum
In roughly three years, Reverb.com has grown into the most popular music gear website in the world. Today, the online marketplace sees more than seven million monthly visitors and supports more than 100,000 unique gear sellers, including private sellers, dealers, and brands that sell directly through Reverb.

In 2015, Reverb’s sales tripled from 2014 and this year, we project that we’ll see $280 million in equipment sales. On the horizon, we’re gearing up for international expansion. Currently, more than 10 percent of our transactions involve someone from outside of the U.S. and we expect that number to grow. We’ll also continue to grow Reverb Lessons, our recently launched marketplace that connects aspiring musicians with experienced music instructors for online and in-person lessons.

Learn more about Reverb here.


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