Robert Hatcher logs a ton of hours on his laptop in a tiny office at The Farm, an innovation hub owned by Comcast/NBCUniversal. Though physically solo, he is enabling singers, instrumentalists, producers and sound engineers across the globe to collaborate. In summer 2018, Hatcher founded Soundcollide, a company offering a software platform to eliminate logistical issues many musicians face: aligning schedules, driving long distances to meet and finding a place to record. He enrolled in the MBA program at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business to have the flexibility to continue to grow Soundcollide full-time.
“A lot of our classes are project-based, so I get a chance to customize those assignments to Soundcollide,” Hatcher says. “By the time I graduate, I’ll have a tailor made skillset.”
Hatcher describes the Soundcollide experience as “a Google Docs Skype session.” Everyone involved shares the same screen in real time. So during his Data Visualization course with Likoebe Maruping, Hatcher jumped at the chance to outline the functionality of Soundcollide’s software platform infrastructure.
In addition to facilitating virtual teamwork, Soundcollide tracks individual contributions to each audio file. Through Elizabeth Strickler’s Introduction to FinTech class, Hatcher learned how to develop blockchain-based smart contracts that allow all parties to manage possible publishing agreement disputes.
Throughout his studies, Hatcher has built technical as well as management acumen. As part of his Corporate Finance course with Scott Murray, Hatcher covered stock evaluations, which will pay off when he meets with potential investors.
“When they bring up convertible notes or discounts at a particular interest rate, I know what they are talking about and can make an informed decision,” he says.
Through Loren Buysman’s Operations Management class, Hatcher gained insight into measuring output from not only his staff but also himself—and appropriately setting expectations. That way, funds used to compensate, say, a low-performing developer can be allocated elsewhere.
“Classes like these have helped me sharpen and refine everything I do,” Hatcher says.
As though running Soundcollide by day and earning an MBA at night weren’t enough, Hatcher also raises business capital however possible—anything from driving for Lyft to participating in pitch competitions. He has won several thousand dollars at contests including the Ignite Conference at the University of California, San Diego; the Self-Employment in the Arts Conference; and SharedSpace Cobb’s Collab & Compete Pitch Competition. It’s no shocker that Atlanta Tech Village’s Wireless Technology Forum named Hatcher a “Top Innovator” in January.
Soundcollide is in its beta testing phase. By the end of the year, if all goes according to plan, Hatcher will graduate and Soundcollide will launch—or should we say, fully hatch.