Founding Managing Director
Panos Panay is the founding managing director of Berklee ICE (Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship) as well as a passionate entrepreneur and active startup mentor in the creative media space. As the founder of Sonicbids, he created the leading platform for bands to book gigs and market themselves online, building a subscriber network of 550,000 bands and 35,000 promoters from over 100 countries. He led the company as CEO for 13 years, from its inception until after its successful acquisition by Backstage LLC, in a deal backed by Guggenheim Partners.
Panay is widely credited for spotting and capitalizing early on three distinct emerging trends in the music business over the last decade: the shift to a primarily online means of marketing; the emergence of an “artistic middle class”; and the shift from a record-label-funded industry to a consumer-brand-funded music business.
He writes weekly about startups and entrepreneurship for blogs and publications such as Huffington Post, Forbes, WSJ Accelerators and Fast Company; and guest lectures at universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Brown University, and Bentley College. He speaks often at industry events like SXSW, MIDEM, and CMJ. As a passionate arts and business advocate, Panay serves on a number of boards. He has been the chair of Berklee College of Music’s Presidential Advisory Council for six years. He is a die-hard supporter of English football club Arsenal F.C.
His honors include being named as one of Fast Company’s "Fast 50," Inc. Magazine’s "Inc 500," Boston Business Journal’s "40 under 40," and the Mass Hi-Tech All Stars. He is a recipient of Berklee’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Sonicbids and Panay were also profiled in a chapter in the Financial Times-published book Outsmart by best-selling author Jim Champy.
Panay is a native of Cyprus, holds a Music Business and Management degree from Berklee College of Music, and lives with his wife, Kimberly, in Watertown, Massachusetts.