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Blake West

Entrepreneur • Advisor San Francisco Bay Area, US

Founder, Teacher @ LessonUp. Co-inventor of Hummingbird notation. Former pro musician. Wharton '09. Love music, learning, reading.

Founder, Teacher @ LessonUp. Co-inventor of Hummingbird notation. Former pro musician. Wharton '09. Love music, learning, reading.

5 vouches

Primary Skillsets

  • Business Development
  • Product
I have an idea I'm commited to

Primary Cofounder Skillsets

  • • Business Development
  • • Product

Involved In




Blake West


Software Engineer Hint Health March 2014 - present
Hacker in Residence Hack Reactor October 2013 - present
Contract Software Engineer Versal November 2013 - November 2013
Founder LessonUp July 2011 - August 2013
Keyboardist Blake West September 2009 - August 2013
Freelance Keyboardist Blake West May 2006 - August 2009
Consultant Wharton Small Business Development Center May 2008 - August 2008


Hack Reactor Computer Software Engineering 2013 - 2013
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School Marketing; Entrepreneurship. Minor in Music 2005 - 2009

Interested In

Cofounder With
  • • Engineering
Markets of Interest
  • • Education
  • • Mobile
  • • Music
  • • Social Impact

You Should Know About Me

Key Strengths

JavaScript • Node.js • Entrepreneurship • Git • Music Industry

Key Accomplishments

I've always had the entrepreneurial streak, with early founding credits for starting (literally) the lemonade stand at age 7; then chess clubs in high school, and then bands and an online music collaboration startup in college. I briefly worked as a consultant for the Wharton Small Business Development Center, but then came back to doing my own thing. After graduating from Wharton, I worked for myself as a musician, (playing in bands, doing mixing and producing, etc.) and a teacher. I got too busy teaching myself, so I started my own music lessons company, LessonUp. I hired other teachers and within a year we were named Favorite Place to Learn Music by Austin Family Magazine (2012). But I saw numerous ways to improve music education, which has led me to my current endeavors, which includes co-inventing a new music notation system (already seeing over 20k downloads), and building out an iPad app to replace and enhance music books.

How I like to work with people As a Cofounder

Specifically, I bring deep knowledge of teaching, music, and running my company around those things.
After that, I bring a calm and determined hustle. I've been told my greatest strength is consistency. I don't have "bad days" or "good days". I show up mentally every time to get things done. If I say I'll make the intro, I do. If I say I'll get you X at Y time, I will. If I can't, I'll let you know why and when it will get done. I can schmooze at parties, make sales calls, and with my dual background in arts and business, I find it easy to get along with a wide range of people.
I enjoy making things happen and learning new skills to do so. I'm not illiterate to code, and my empathetic nature loves the process of working with customers to iterate and improve their experience.

Vouches Received

Vouches Given

Think Blake is awesome?
Vouch for them.

Lawrence Gelburd
They're my mentor
Blake is a great entrepreneur because he has committed his professional to start-ups even though he has easier choices available to him and ... he is driven.
Mike Sall
They're my school
Blake is tireless and incredibly passionate about what he does. Even in college, he was teaching piano lessons out of our dorm room (I'm sti ... ll not sure how he convinced normal, working adults in there) and playing gigs at night (again, I don't know where he found all those weddings). And squeezed in there he was a regular college student too. Graduating from Wharton undergrad, we all went off to our consulting and investment banking jobs while Blake moved to Austin to play piano. Not exactly the job security most of us were desperate for in 2009, but we had no doubts about Blake. He has the rare combination of smarts and work ethic to pave his own way.
Caen Contee
They're my school  •  CEO at Connect. Serial, purpose-driven entrepreneur, chef, and student of languages. Startup Ops, Marketing, BD, and Sales maven.
Blake's drive is ignited by passion and grounded by a deep sense of self-awareness and humility. As a business man, he is an analytical mind ... but communicates a vision well. He takes the needed risk to innovate as a culture. Blake was a highschool friend and is a now startup colleague whom I am proud to support.
Jon Tzou
We worked together
Blake is already a great entrepreneur. In its early phases, LessonUp was a mere basecamp for local musical talent. Blake has since developed ... his vision and executed on it with tenacity unlike much of what I've seen, He has a strong understanding of what his audience wants and it willing to go above and beyond what is required to make it happen. In other words, you'd be silly not to consider Blake. He's a huge talent and great guy to boot.
Ben Naecker
We worked together
Blake has this theory. During his free time, Blake does what he calls 'investment activities'. These are things that, though fun and not nec ... essarily immediately applicable, are still investments in his future. This includes reading news, meeting new friends, and computer programming, and excludes things such as television. This shows remarkable diligence and drive, but I think that it signals something deeper. Blake is always working to make himself better and his projects more valuable. This takes an amount of intelligence, discipline, and foresight that I have not seen in another individual my age. It is quite impressive, and one of the many reasons I believe Blake will make a fantastic entrepreneur.

Caen Contee
They're my school
Caen is one of the only people I know who legitimately has the "reality-distortion field" when he talks about his projects. He makes it easy ... to see his vision, but then at the end of the meeting, he'll find a way to help you out. This makes him a natural biz dev talent, because everyone wants to help him back. And yeah, he knows everyone. If you need a hustler by your side, you'd be silly not to consider Caen.

Ari Lerner
They're my professor  •  Instructor, Hack Reactor and CoFounder, LLC. University of Arizona grad.
Ari is a true expert in app development, on both the front and back end. He knows Angularjs inside and out (as in, he literally wrote a book ... on it), and has always been eager to help others learn. I worked with him at Hack Reactor (the premier school for learning advanced JavaScript), and as a teacher, he's always generous with his time for the students. He sits down next to them, and works through their issues, explaining concepts as he goes. Hack Reactor has been lucky to count him among their instructors.