CEO, Opnr | Co-Owner, Motu Viget Spirits
As a tech founder and CEO, a beverage entrepreneur and a beloved local DJ, Andrea "Dre" Wallace is a superstar of West Michigan.
Wallace founded her own tech startup, Fourtifeye, in 2018 to help artists aggregate and understand their fanbase using data. It was going great, with big plans, until COVID hit. However, the platform was acquired last year by another tech company, Opnr, of which Wallace was then appointed CEO.
Opnr, pronounced "opener," is a service for connecting touring musicians with local concert organizers to help easily bring in talent as concert openers. They've already seen success, but are seeking seed round investments.
Now, Wallace is focused on building the platform and giving musicians around the Midwest more opportunities to connect with each other, while continuing with additional projects like Motu Viget Spirits and DJing under the name SuperDre.
We spoke with Wallace to see how she ended up here and what's coming next.
How did Fourtifeye come about initially?
It came out of my personal experiences as a musician. I'm in tech, and I wanted musicians to have better access to their own data. I figured out a way to do it for myself, but most musicians aren't data scientists. So maybe I could come up with a way to make it easy for people to just connect all the accounts they have and apply some machine learning models to them. Then, we could give them some results back about the stats, explaining what you're seeing—just basic stuff explaining the demographic of your entire fanbase. I ended up winning Start Garden's 100 Ideas competition in 2019. Then I got accepted to a startup accelerator with Capitol Records maybe a month after that.
Why did you want to bring Opnr's headquarters over to Grand Rapids?
It needs to be here. It's Grand Rapids, we don't have a lot of true cornerstone music industry stuff here. And we need it. So, if we have one company that can start to be that, it'll be easier for other things associated with the creative economy to spin up around it. We need that kind of stability, to be the rock for the industry.
What are you excited about coming up and how can people get involved?
I'm mostly excited about the shows we're doing ourselves this summer. We're partnering with Midwest House this year for a summer series, not just in GR but throughout the Midwest. But primarily, it's the music community we need to get involved.
It won't be free forever, but right now, it's free for people to sign up on both sides. Musicians can sign up for free, and promoters, venues and concert buyers can sign up on their side for free. They can post as many show opportunities as they want to and we help them promote too, especially if it's local where we can jump in and help even more. Almost everybody either knows somebody who is a musician or a venue owner.
Written by Josh Veal for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Jun/Jul '22 issue of West Michigan Woman.