Interview with Florian Simmendinger and Julian Vogels, co-founders of Soundbrenner.
First off, congratulations on your most recent round of funding. Tell us how this round of funding will get your company to the next level and what’s next for Soundbrenner?
We want to take Soundbrenner from a hardware company to a platform company.
For us, it’s all about creating a great product. We think by adding more depth to our software app, we can create a great product experience that delivers a lot to musicians. Besides R&D, we are also going to invest heavily into creating more awareness around our company on a global level! Overall, we’re really excited about the tremendous growth we’ve experienced in 2016 and look forward to keeping the foot on the gas and moving in the same upwards trajectory for 2017 as well.
Now that funding is out of the way, tell us about Soundbrenner and what inspired you to start it?
We are all musicians so when we had the idea to allow musicians to actually feel the beat instead of listening to it, we were immediately intrigued by the potential. We loved the idea of syncing multiple players and creating a new kind of practice tool. I personally remember that my piano teacher would always tap on my shoulder to give me the beat so it made perfect sense from the beginning.
What’s your personal background?
I studied business administration and my co-founder Julian Vogels is a graduate in music technology and already built his own instruments during hi studies.
Together we formed the classical startup duo: A business-minded founder and a technology-minded founder. That has served us really well.
Tell us about your experience building the metronome and the app. What were your biggest challenges?
For us, it was clear that we wanted to build the best metronome app on the planet. That’s very ambitious considering we had no experience building metronome apps when we started out, and there are already other apps that have been around for 5 years. So I would say the most difficult part was living up to our own expectations, both in terms of getting the concept and UX right, but also the technical execution in terms of accuracy and reliability. I feel like now after roughly one year we are at a point where our edge on other apps is starting to really take off, and it’s clear we’re on a very good path to reach our initial goal.
What was your most memorable moment in your startup journey so far?
That’s hard because there are so many. Startups are like a rollercoaster so that means there are so many amazing memories of ups, but also many downs. One of the most memorable recent ones was when Stevie Wonder came to our booth at NAMM and chatted for about 15 minutes about the Soundbrenner Pulse and its potential. To see one of the greatest musicians of all time fall in love with our product is mind blowing and something we wouldn’t have dreamed of when we started out initially.
What are 3 things you want consumers to remember about your company?
1. We make the best practice tools that help to develop a rock-solid sense of rhythm and play on time.
2. We think long-term and are seriously dedicated to change habits, rather than wselling gimmicks. So if you have any issues, we will go above and beyond to make you a happy customer.
3. We also have a great free standalone metronome app that everyone can download right now for iOS and Android.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in Hong Kong what would that be?
Don’t get distracted by all the million things you could be doing. Stay laser focused on getting a product that people actually want first before you think about hiring, marketing, financing and everything else. Making a product that people want may take many iterations and many months of work but you can’t skip this step. It sounds simple, but most people get this wrong and work too little on this crucially important part.