Yousician CO Chris Thür acknowledged that he wasn’t the most obvious candidate to launch a business focused on music teaching.
Thür, a former laser researcher, described a meeting with an investor who initially inquired about the co-founders’ musical or teaching backgrounds before going “through the list of all the things that would partly prepare us for that environment.” They had to reject him each time.
Thür explained, “We were just two guys who wanted to play an instrument and thought we were losing out. We couldn’t have been the only ones, of course.
Thür and Kaipainen founded Yousician, which today has 20 million monthly users across its two apps—the music education app Yousician and the guitar tuning app GuitarTuna—despite not getting the anonymous investor to send them a check. Additionally, the Helsinki-based business has raised $28 million in Series B funding, which it is announcing today.
It has been “a bit of a journey,” according to Thür (CEO of Yousician), to get here. The business, which was once known as Ovelin, was established ten years ago, and it initially only catered to children until finding success with a less age-specific approach.
He said the Yousician app offered an engaging, gamified method for learning the guitar, piano, ukulele, bass, or singing that wasn’t overly similar to playing a game. Users play for 15 or 20 minutes every day as they progress through a set curriculum. The app evaluates their performance and assigns one to three points depending on how many mistakes they make. Users can access one lesson per day for free, but if they want to learn several instruments or have access to additional courses and the entire song catalog, they must purchase a Premium or Premium+ subscription, which start at $19.99 per month.
According to Thür, Yousician offers music classes that are far less expensive than in-person instruction and that consumers can take at any time. Nevertheless, he argued that there isn’t a “zero sum” rivalry amongst music teachers, as some of them advise Yousician to their pupils as a means to continue practicing and learning in between lessons.
Thür gave the story of Karen Gadd, who (as told in the video below) “went from never having played an instrument to performing on-stage” with her band, as an illustration of how Yousician can assist its users. However, he hastened to add that the app is helpful even if you never perform for anyone else.
Thür stated, “We want to make musicality as common as literacy.” “Everyone should play occasionally to reap these advantages, Although I believe that learning from a teacher is effective for many people, it is regrettably not so for everyone.
He claimed that the previous year had been “a challenging year and an intriguing year for us.” Yousician attempted to make up for some of the lost lessons by giving free premium subscriptions to more than 100,000 teachers and students since students have mostly shifted to remote learning.
During the epidemic, a lot of people developed an interest in studying an instrument as part of a larger drive for self-improvement, which resulted in “a enormous organic growth” in usage. The company generated $50 million in income last year thanks to an increase in monthly users from 14.5 million to 20 million and an 80% rise in subscriptions.
A total of $35 million has now been raised by Yousician. In addition to Zynga founder Mark Pincus, LAUNCH Fund founder Jason Calacanis, Unity Technologies founder David Helgason, Trivago co-founder Rolf Schrömgens, Cooler Future founder Moaffak Ahmed, and Blue Bottle Coffee Company executive chairman Bryan Meehan, True Ventures led the round. Other participants included new investors Amazon’s Alexa Fund and MPL Ventures.
People are gravitating to the pursuit of creativity and music with increased fervor today more than ever, according to True Ventures co-founder Jon Callaghan. “Yousician has been the premier platform for music training for nearly ten years,” he said in a statement. “We’re delighted to support a business and a team that expands access to music-making for more homes and families.”
According to Thür, Yousician will expand the staff, enhance brand marketing, localize the product, and forge additional connections with musicians as a result of the new finance.