Creating the TurboTax of music and a culture of empowerment with HAAWK Co-Founder Ryan Born

When developing a startup, it’s important to think about your company in the simplest terms possible. For Ryan Born, the CEO and co-founder of HAAWK, a company that helps to monetize and enforce copyrights on user-generated video and audio platforms (think YouTube, Facebook, and SoundCloud), his mission is simple: to create the TurboTax of music rights management.

“TurboTax made it possible for the public to do their own taxes,” says Born. “There’s certainly still accountants and there’s certainly big accounting firms, but you have the ability to do your own taxes. We teach our clients how to do their own publishing. We’re educating them,” Born explained. “We basically open up a lot of the—I don’t want to necessarily say secrets—but complex stuff and try to simplify it so that people can do it on their own.”

From this very simple idea, Born has built a company a company culture that enhances HAAWK’s mission by reflecting its core values. “All of [the employees] have a bit of a culture of love of music, whether they’ve been managers of bands or are musicians themselves. It’s [a culture] of care for rights, care for music, and also it’s a laid-back environment,” Born explained.

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