The company of the day is Musicshake, they are based in Korea, they provide music composing solutions aimed at the general public and you can find their website here. You will find below an interview with Kihong Bae from Musicshake. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Kihong Bae from Musicshake
Who are you?
My name is Kihong Bae with a company called Musicshake. Musicshake, Inc. is the world’s first UGM (User Generated Music) creation solution that provides music composing solutions aimed at the general public without previous musical knowledge or expertise. The service lets users create personalized, professional quality music using more than half a million music modules and pattern-combination methods. You can then create communities based on user generated music. Musicshake is ‘the easiest way to make music in the world’ and has been quoted by some of the users as “the most addictive thing on your list of addictive things.” Our company was a TechCrunch40 finalist last year.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft?
This is truly exciting as I know that working with Microsoft can take our business to the next level. Having been an ex-Microsoftee myself, I know what it’s like when Microsoft decides to work with you. I am confident that working with and leveraging Microsoft’s resources will open new windows of opportunities for Musicshake.
What did you do before creating your company?
Before Musicshake, I was pursuing my MBA degree at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania but realized that there were better things to do with time and money and decided to quit school to work on Musicshake. Before Wharton, I used to be the Midmarket Marketing Manager for Microsoft Korea’s SMSP Group.
How did you get the idea? What s the genesis?
In the past, only a select number of artists such as Britney Spears and Beyonce were able to feel that ecstatic feeling of performing in front of their friends and fans. At Musicshake, we want to empower the mass audience to be able to experience these feelings. This was the genesis of the company.
What do you sell? What is your company’s mission?
We provide a free to download music creation tool. Creating music, consuming music and building communities online is free but there is a $0.99 fee to download user generated music as mp3 files.
What is your market?
Musicshake primarily targets the 2.8 billion mobile phone users and 400 million active internet users that have various web presences. There is an increasing demand for personalized music for contents as more and more users want to “personalize” their presence. With the emergence of Web 2.0, we are seeing a dramatic paradigm shift with more user participation and sharing which can all be described as e-democracy. The concept of Web 2.0 is not a brand new thing, however it was YouTube that popularized the term UGX (User Generated X) and made it mainstream. Based on market research and discussions with the users, we at Musicshake believe that the next revolution in the UGX area is UGM – User Generated Music. Musicshake addresses the huge market for both on and offline contents, an area in which music has become an indispensible ingredient. While the digital music industry is currently going through major changes, the market for legal user generated music is becoming ever so popular and mainstream.
Any clients? References? Partners? You want to quote
We are a premium music contents partner of YouTube and have our own content page on Cyworld Korea. (http://music.cyworld.com/musicshake)
Funding history? VCs? BA?
-Series A: $1M (local VC)
-Series B: $2.5M (Nexon, Silicon Valley VC)
We launched our beta services in 2007 July in Korea. Opened US offices in 2008 Feb and also closed a deal with a major online gaming portal in Japan (Japanese service to go live in 2008 Dec)
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
29 in total, 10 developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?
We are always hungry for good talent both in Korea and US.
Which platform are you building on? Why? ( No taboos)
Windows OS (also developing a web-based version).
Do you have any Software IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?
We have a patented technology on our music pattern combination methods and are the first ones to create a high-quality music creation tool that is targeted toward the mass audience. Traditionally, there have been the professional music creation software that caters to only the professional musicians, and a very low/generic quality music creation software that caters to the mass audience. Musicshake addresses the problems that both markets were facing – providing a high quality music creation service that caters to the mass audience.
Who’s your role model?
This might sound REALLY cheesy but Bill Gates really is my role model.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet areas?
With strong contents being developed and improved these days, I see tremendous opportunities in the fusion of traditional media/entertainment and the internet. Just as Musicshake is bringing together music, internet, contents and traditional media, I expect to see more of this coming in the very near future. In terms of software, I think there are great opportunities in cost-effective web based software for small businesses.
Looking for funding? If yes, how much?
Yes, looking for $3M funding.
What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?
I think the perks and benefits of the BizSpark Program is great but the bigger ‘gets’ for Musicshake would be the fact that we are going to be working with and under the umbrella of Microsoft and its resources. This is the real value of BizSpark that we would be reaping and my whole reasons behind applying for the program.
Any advice to young Software entrepreneurs?
Don’t think too much, don’t plan too much. If you have a great idea, give it shot. Develop something quick and put it out on the market. Be humble and let the market decide what your next moves should be. Then be quick in making small changes and fixes. Don’t pay too much attention to what others say, and follow your own guts and instincts. The beauty about the new economy is that there is not one silver bullet for everything. A budding entrepreneur has just as much chances of succeeding as a senior executive that has been in this industry all his/her life.