PonoMusic’s feverish flurry of Kickstarter pledges back in March culminated in a stunning total of $6.2 million raised, but apparently that’s not enough capital, because Neil Young’s high-resolution undertaking now has its sights set on another phase in crowdfunding. The company revealed in an email this morning that it has officially opened itself up to accredited investors who wish to purchase shares in PonoMusic to become partial owners.
The service’s CEO, Chance Barnett, explains in the email that Pono is now seeking to “democratize the opportunity to invest” in the project by following a model made popular by today’s tech startups: validate the business through Kickstarter presale orders, then share equity in the company with both institutional and individual accredited investors. Pono’s press release points out that the squad behind the Oculus Rift chose to forgo this particular fundraising method when it sold the company to Facebook, potentially losing untold numbers of backers who, given the chance, might have thrown even more cash on the table if it meant they could secure an actual piece of the pie for themselves. It seems Pono doesn’t intend to repeat what it sees as a huge mistake.
Pono’s decision to share equity with investors is probably a wise one considering the particular nature of the PonoPlayer; a device such as this seems to inherently rely on a community of like-minded music-lovers who share Neil Young’s sentiment that the industry has effectively compressed the magic out of music. Not every interested audiophile will be able to cough up the minimum $5,000 to become a part-owner, but the ones that do could very well comprise the backbone that Pono needs to enter the market with authority and momentum.
To take part in this new round of fundraising, you’ll first need to sign up for a Crowdfunder account, which will in turn require you to verify your status as an accredited investor.