Small chubby conductor that makes sure your sheet music is organized

One snowy winter evening, the Maribor startup community gathered for the traditional startup discussion, Start:up Müsli, this time under the title “Launch stories”. The only thing missing in the interesting conversation was a fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate while Klemen and Marko from the startup Maestro Amadeus shared their story of designing a solution that helps musicians solve the problem of storing and using sheet music. On 6 February 2018 in KID Kibla in Maribor, we started the first Müsli discussion of the year with the story of how to shape a startup from the very start – from the very first idea that leads to the innovative solution. 

Founders of Maestro Amadeus, Klemen Sagadin and dr. Marko Samec,
shared the story of shaping their startup with Urban and the public. 

For the introduction, the evening’s presenter, Urban Lapajne, shared an interesting graphic that shows the journey of designing a service or product, from the first hot idea to a million-euro company. Of course, every story is unique, running on its own curve of ups and downs. But no matter the industry, every beginning has certain laws and rules, and global competition is increasingly present. This is why even those who see themselves only as local players shouldn’t rest on their laurels but should rather constantly keep track of the market and adapt. Traditional industries are shaken by disrupters such as Uber, Airbnb, PayPal, Alibaba and others. The old rules are out, and new players need to adapt to the rapid changes in the market and the available offer. 

Tidy sheet music: from Amadeus to Wagner

Klemen, cofounder of the Maestro Amadeus platform, is a passionate musician. Since he is also a software developer with experience in developing mobile and web solutions and information systems, he got tired of the constant problems with organizing his sheet music and decided to find a digital solution to a very analogue problem. Applications for this purpose do already exist but they demand that the user spend hours and hours doing complex cataloguing, scanning, yet in the end, the systems do not enable a clear order that would be simple for the user. By thinking about his own experience and observations as well as those of other music colleagues, Klemen designed the basic idea of the Maestro Amadeus portal. Algorithms and advanced machine reading enable us to simply take a picture of the sheet of paper and import the notation into the system in a single step. There is no need for us to put in the composer and title, because the system does it by itself. 

Klemen and Marko explicitly showed the heaps of paper that musicians face.

The thin line between too soon and too late

The solution is designed for three types of users: independent musicians who wish to have their music library organized in a clear and systematic way; music groups that can share different compositions and folders with each other; and music schools, which can finally put an end to constant photocopying, putting textbooks together and looking for lost pages. But for figuring out typical users, it is necessary to take a step back and go to the market to verify – with potential users – what their problems are and where the existing applications and services “blew it”. Based on this, the Maestro Amadeus team designed the final form of their minimum viable product (MVP). That is the least perfected basic form of the solution that is acceptable for market performance and testing with the first users (i.e. early adopters). High-tech companies are notoriously “slow” as far as early appearance on the market is concerned, because they wish to send the best possible final version to the market, while forgetting that the more elaborate the version, the fewer possibilities there are for the changes that the users might want. Consequently, the idea only truly matures in communication with users, gathering feedback, and finding the best solutions. 

The team of Maestro Amadeus consists of six members: (from left above) Vid Visočnik,
Klemen Sagadin, dr. Marko Samec, Rok Venuti, Haidi Zakelšek and Mitja Rogl

Maestro Amadeus: chubby organization maestro

The story of the startup is personified by a little chubby maestro with a moustache and a conductor’s baton, who follows the users while they’re organizing their music library. The high-tech solution is thus accompanied by a human touch, a comical element that rounds up the service of the Maestro Amadeus platform. They made the name a combination of the title given to classical music masters (maestros) and the European champion of pop classical music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This year, the team (currently consisting of six members already), will develop the platform to the MVP form, which they will launch to the global market at the end of the year or at the start of 2019. The need for an organized library of sheet music is a universal problem of musicians who need an elegant solution. 

Failure is also part of a success story

To conclude the discussion, Urban presented a list of the most frequent reasons why promising business ideas fail. For the Maestro Amadeus team, the entrance on the market is still somewhere far on the horizon, but they’re already aware of some traps that they should expect on the way. For example, before they enter the market they should clearly research and define their position on the market, thoroughly elaborate the costs of acquiring one user, and carefully develop a business model that will also survive scaling.

All musicians with uncontrollable heaps of paper sheet music, look out: by subscribing to the Maestro Amadeus newsletter (and following them on Facebook and Instagram), you can be amongst the first to try their solution!

If you missed the event, you can see it at the link below:

Author: Anja Kodra, 12.2.2018
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