Slingshot raises $2.2 million to provide financial services to artists

Sanil Chawla remembers the meetings he had with countless artists in college. Those creatives were looking for one thing: sustainable economic infrastructure that could help them scale rather than drown them in paperwork, filings and tracking down receipts.

Chawla thought he might have a solution and launched a music monetization platform in 2020. During the pandemic, he pivoted the company into what it is today: Slingshot, which helps creatives find the tools they need to manage operational requirements. It even offers its own corporate card to help further centralize financial transactions into its platform.

“Too many talented creators today are forced to spend countless hours navigating the complex financial and business challenges of being self-employed,” Chawla told TechCrunch. “Our goal is to leverage technology to dramatically simplify those tasks, empowering creatives to focus on what they love.”

On Monday, the company announced a $2.2 million pre-seed round, with participation from Dorm Room Fund, 1916 Enterprises, Key Partners Group, and angel investor Vincent Francoeur, former head of web and mobile at Blizzard.

Slingshot emerged in the wake of the booming $250 billion creator economy, but it's not the first company to try and build out infrastructure for this bustling economy. It says it differentiates itself by centralizing its features and data, offering automated bookkeeping linked to its business card. It also works with banks to facilitate financial transactions, allowing creatives to manage their funds, make transfers, and send payments. Its primary BaaS partner for customer accounts is Stripe through its Treasury and Issuing programs.

Product imagery of Slingshot.
Product imagery of Slingshot.

It offers other features like letting creatives save a percentage of their revenue and offering benefits like healthcare and retirement. It acts like HR and handles legal filing and tax paperwork. Chawla, now 24, said it took four years to raise the pre-seed round since the company raised in batches. It took smaller angel checks in 2020 and then pivoted to its current iteration in 2023.

Slingshot started as a company that provided legal and financial infrastructure to musicians to grow their audiences without a label, and in a way that still lets artists control a bulk share of their royalties. It raised $50,000 from that idea, then another $1.2 million to build it out. In late 2022, the company pivoted. Its customers wanted more of a financial product, and Slingshot followed what the customers were asking for. It then spent last year and this year fundraising to close an additional $1 million in funding, bringing the company to where it stands today.

Looking ahead, Slingshot has ambitious plans. It intends to raise funds again in the coming year, leveraging the $2.2 million pre-seed round to enhance its feature offerings. This includes the development of an AI assistant, with the aim of revolutionizing how creatives manage their operations. Chawla said that better tools and infrastructure for the creative economy can help enable more creativity and diverse artistic expression. “We're still early in the journey, but I'm inspired by the impact we've had so far and all the potential ahead to do so much more,” he said.

This piece was updated to reflect the spelling of Vincent Francoeur's name.