AEI Music, the engine behind leading electronic music brands and labels including Drum&BassArena, UKF and NCS, has unveiled AEI Ventures, a dedicated investment arm to support the next generation of founders in the music and hospitality industries.
Following AEI’s ethos of ‘bringing outsiders inside’, AEI Ventures will focus on investing in companies created by those with little experience in the traditional music and hospitality industries. Emphasis will also be placed on working with those from historically excluded or marginalised backgrounds.
A certified B Corporation, AEI Music has long held itself to the highest staff welfare and environmental standards and carefully considers its impact on the wider community and planet. AEI Ventures was born out of a belief that investing in like-minded founders with a strong sense of community can further this cause.
AEI’s operations have always been 100% independent. This will continue with AEI Ventures, with funding raised by reinvesting profits from AEI Music. Founders and businesses backed by AEI will join a collaborative network of innovators, receiving mentorship, peer support and funding.
AEI Ventures launches two years after the opening of The Halley, AEI’s East London shared workspace and production studios – a community space for music-driven creatives, artists, and businesses. With successful collaborations already emerging from The Halley community, the thriving hub will also serve as an incubator for potential AEI Ventures investment.
Diluk Dias, co-founder & CEO at AEI Music, said: “We’ve always found the most success when working with those that come from outside of the traditional sectors we operate in, whether that’s founders or even our internal staff. With the launch of AEI Ventures, we’re expanding this approach beyond the niche dance music industries we’ve traditionally operated in, to bring more outsiders inside across music and hospitality.”
Sarah Cole, Chief Operating Officer at AEI Music, added: “The launch of AEI Ventures is a crucial next step in our mission to transform the culture of the music industry. For too long, the access needed to get a foot in the door or investment to reach the next level has been limited for many communities. We are excited to play a part in changing this.”
Celebrating 25 years of business this year, AEI was founded by James Cotterill and Diluk Dias following the launch of the pioneering online drum & bass website and community Drum&BassArena by Cotterill two years earlier. Having had no previous experience in the music industry themselves, the pair have now spent over two decades developing businesses and partnerships with founders that take a fresh and disruptive approach.
These include Luke Hood, who launched UKF, one of the first YouTube music brands at the age of 16; Billy Woodford, who created record label and copyright-free music platform NCS; Amin Hamzianpour and Nicholas Sonuga who launched membership music studios The Qube after becoming frustrated with what was on offer in London. AEI also partnered with Cirque Du Soul founders Will Weaver, Luke Wolfman and Jack Burbage to launch El Dorado, the trio’s first music festival.
The Halley will be hosting an open day on 25th May, inviting those interested in membership or investment to take the first step in exploring possible future working relationships. Attendees can also find out more about The Halley Growth Membership, a scheme that provides discounted membership fees to local Hackney freelancers, artists, businesses and organisations, with extra focus placed on those from historically marginalised communities.