An uninformed visitor would be excused for thinking Yousician's conference room was actually a recording studio. Half a dozen guitars are on stands scattered around the room, along with wires and equipment.
"We have a lot of musicians here, including professional music educators and performers," CEO Chris Thür says. "Our team is passionate about music."
Yousician is the world's largest music educator, teaching millions of people around the world how to play a musical instrument. The company is already turning a profit after having found a point of convergence between high technology, the arts and education.
Play me a song, you're the piano man
"We started five years ago and we have seen steady growth," Thür continues. "We want to expand to the more popular instruments as well as the different skill levels."
The company's apps help people learn how to play a guitar or piano. The apps provide step-by-step tutorials and the audio technology listens to the musician play in order to give instant feedback on how well she is doing.
"With the piano, we have the traditional classic music as well as the singer / songwriter songs you hear in pop music. We have rhythm and lead guitar, going all the way from complete beginner up to expert level. We wanted to have the joy of playing the instrument combined with the addictiveness of gaming."
Changing music education
Yousician is currently in Tekes' Young Innovative Companies program and also received R&D loans as it developed its initial app.
"Getting the money when we needed it the most has definitely been a big concrete benefit!" says COO Mikko Kaipainen. "Especially in the early days when we were building our first product Tekes' R&D loan had a significant impact on getting the product out."
Now with multiple products attracting music-lovers Thür is thinking big, saying they intend to change music education around the world. Yousician plans to soon open an office in their largest market America, but Thür is happy to be in Finland.
"Finland has such great enthusiasm in the startup ecosystem," he says. "Finland is also good for us because of all the gaming and audio technology talent. And we can't forget about all the great heavy metal guitarists here!"
Text: David J. Cord