Kuok Meng Ru’s BandLab Raises $53 Million From Vulcan Capital, K3 Ventures

BandLab—a Singapore-based digital platform for music creators—said it raised $53 million from a funding round that will help the company expand its team and reach more aspiring artists worldwide.

Vulcan Capital—the investment vehicle of Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist Paul Allen—was the lead investor, while venture capital firm K3 Ventures also participated in the funding round, which values BandLab at $303 million. K3 Ventures—founded by Kuok Meng Xiong, grandson of Malaysia’s richest person Robert Kuok—was an early investor in superapp Grab as well as Chinese tech giant Bytedance.

BandLab was launched in 2015 by Kuok Meng Ru—son of palm-oil billionaire Kuok Khoon Hong, a nephew of Robert Kuok—to provide a mobile-first platform for creating music. The platform is used by more than 40 million music producers and musicians.

“Our vision is a future where there are no barriers to making and sharing music, in particular among independent musicians and creators, and among mobile-first users, the billions with smartphones and original music ideas,” Kuok Meng Ru, who serves as CEO of BandLab, said in a statement. “We’re not only doubling down on our market leading creator tools, but also prioritizing compensation for artists and protection for rights holders. If creators aren’t paid fairly, it’s a major barrier to their development and growth as artists.”

Apart from BandLab’s music creation tools, Kuok—through Caldecott Music—also owns music publications NME and Uncut, and musical instruments retailer Swee Lee. BandLab bought a 49% stake in Rolling Stone magazine in 2016 but later sold it to Penske Media, which took control of the iconic publication in late 2017.

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“With a passionate community of millions worldwide, BandLab has an incredible track record of providing innovative and meaningful tools for music creators and artists globally, not only in primary markets like the U.S., but extending far beyond into developing and underserved markets as well,” Tommy Teo, managing director and head of Southeast Asia at Vulcan Capital, said in a statement.

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