Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm
Dream City Music LLC
Leadership: Co-founders Jared Judge & Keaton Viavattine
Address: 313 N. Plankinton Ave., Suite 205, Milwaukee
What they do: String quartet booking service
Founded: June 2016
Jared Judge, co-founder and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Dream City Music LLC, started the business after he had an awkward musical performance.
“Assuming I would get paid, I agreed to play violin for my friend’s wedding,” Judge said. “She walks down the aisle to some beautiful violin music, but I have yet to see that paycheck.”
In a recent appearance on “Project Pitch It” on WISN-TV Channel 12, the entrepreneur explained that these uncomfortable situations come up frequently for musicians and couples. Musicians aren’t trained to market and sell their services, and the booking process lacks clarity. Dream City Music systemizes the artistic, logistical and business aspects of performing at weddings using an online platform.
In 2017, its first full year, Dream City served more than 130 couples in Wisconsin, Illinois and New York.
Judge met Dream City Music co-founder Keaton Viavattine while he was working on his master’s degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Viavattine eventually transferred to the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, so Dream City has expanded to that area.
The idea for Dream City was brewing from the time he first performed professionally as a violinist in 2009, Judge said. What started as scheduling spreadsheets turned into software.
Dream City’s contracted musicians mainly play weddings, but have also performed for an event at Macy’s and as the background for a wedding proposal.
“As soon as people in Milwaukee started using our services and the reviews started coming in very positive, then people down in Chicago started asking for us, too,” he said. “Nobody in the country is offering string quartets in the way we’re doing it.”
Dream City earned business classes, office space and mentoring from Cardinal Stritch University on “Project Pitch It.” The business is currently working on the logistics of transitioning from its office space in Milwaukee’s Ward4 co-working space to its office at Cardinal Stritch, and Judge is planning a three-course curriculum focused on marketing.
In March, Dream City had its biggest month ever with $12,578 in gross sales. The startup’s next goal is to raise a $100,000 seed funding round, which it would spend on marketing and software development. And it plans to expand to Detroit and Cleveland within the next year.