You know that feeling you get when you realize you’ve found your tribe? It feels pretty amazing, right? Suddenly everything clicks and you have purpose. You have something to strive for, people who are counting on you, and a community that supports you. You realize those around you want you to succeed, but they are also happy to help you through the tough times. Does this sound like a thing for you? This is Balanced Breakfast.
Balanced Breakfast had its first meeting in 2013 with co-founders Stefan Aronsen and Andy Freeman. The original concept was a support group for their close friends. They envisioned a weekly breakfast meeting of five to ten friends around a small table at a diner in San Francisco. However, their small group quickly grew, and in a short period of time Balanced Breakfast had grown to twenty U.S. cities and two international cities: Toronto & Bogota.
“Breakfast was a good way to bring local communities together to chat about projects and discuss topics in the music industry” explains Aronsen. “When we started I couldn’t have predicted how much interest there would be both nationally and internationally. Other cities recognized the power of grassroots collaboration, the music & art that spring forth from that energy, and the meaningful human connections gained.”
Meetings vary by location, but are often held weekly or monthly, with musicians and industry professionals coming together to discuss the challenges they face, and work together for singular and unified solutions, that will help launch not only their individual careers, but strengthen the city’s existing music scene. While there is a strong networking component to Balanced Breakfast, it is at its core about building community, and the idea that we are stronger together than we are alone—a philosophy that has allowed for its massive expansion in the three years since its inception.
“BB started in San Francisco, but its success is in how quickly it caught on without promotion. What was designed to be five people at a breakfast diner in the Mission of SF, quickly became a thing that every city needed.” –Stefan Aronsen
With the phenomenal growth of meetups, it was important to bring new management to the BB team. In 2017, after nearly three years of eating breakfast and listening to the needs of music industry professionals, Stefan finally realized what music industry professionals needed. In an industry that thrives on who you know, members of BB were hungry for more connections to the scene. After heavy research into how professionals connect digitally Stefan knew it was time to create the BB app. It was then that he recruited his long-time friend Levi Winkler to help him make Balanced Breakfast an LLC and launch its first product.
Balanced Breakfast is now expanding its reach with a brand-new app that will fill a much-needed space in the industry, by providing users a way to search new music in their area, find upcoming shows, new band members, sell and purchase equipment, and network entirely online—all while using their current social platforms. Users will be able to filter based on profession, skill, genre, and needs, making it more convenient than ever to connect. Think of it as LinkedIn for the music industry—but cooler……way cooler!!
Winkler adds, “Balanced Breakfast is about creating community and realizing all of the untapped skills, strengths, and resources contained in the people around us. Amazing connections happen at our meetings, we encourage our communities to nurture and cultivate these relationships offline and digitally.”
Below is a quote from Aronsen that encapsulates that San Francisco pursuit for innovation:
“I’m so passionate about this product that I’m about to live in a tour bus promoting the app city by city,” he half-jokes. “San Francisco, where I live and where Breakfast was founded, is an expensive city to live in. To make this app building process possible I had to sublet my apartment for 4 months. For the first 2 months, I lived in the basement of my parent’s house, for the second 2 months I flew to Colombia and split my time between developing BB Music App and helping with a friends’ co-living/working startup. “
When it comes down to it, Aronsen says nothing fuels his passion for this product more than the ability to positively change lives and create a support system for those that need it.
“The thing in the app that I’m most excited for is seeing all the faces of music industry professionals in my neighborhood. How cool is it going to be to finally have a tool to filter your network based on interests, professions, and skills that you are passionate about?”