The BizSpark startup of the day is Scratch Audio, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Eric Herbrandson, CEO, CTO, and Developer of Scratch Audio. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I’m the CEO, CTO, and Developer of Scratch Audio. I’ve been a professional software engineer for almost eleven years. I’m also a musician. I actually went to school to be a Jazz Performance major (playing drums). Scratch Audio is my chance to bring my love of programming and my love of music together into one project.
What did you do before creating your company?
Before Scratch Audio I did the Android port of the popular Golfshot iPhone app. Before that I was Lead Developer for PicksPal, an online sports picking site which later sold for $9M. I also worked on Solid State Networks “Solid Publisher” product, used in PC games such as Riot Games award winning “League of Legends” release and a major soon-to-be-released EA Games title.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It’s great. It’s really nice to have other people recognize your work.
What is your company’s mission?
ScratchAudio.com is an online music recording tool for musicians. We’ve created an online “Digital Audio Workstation” (DAW) that enables users to create music with other musicians straight from within their web browser (think Garageband meets Google Docs). The idea is to create a new kind of DAW that’s focused on collaboration and bringing musicians together to create music. Musicians can come to ScratchAudio.com and start a song and then invite their friends to contribute tracks of their own. Our goal is to be more than just another DAW. We want to provide a truly unique community for artists to make music together in a way that's never been possible before.
In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
We're an online “digital audio workstation” that changes the way musicians create music by making recording an interactive process.
How did you get the idea for your company?
The idea for Scratch Audio started from playing with some existing home recording software and not being entirely happy with the experience. About the same time, the beta for Silverlight 3 had been announced and it had a low level audio API. I started talking with some friends about the idea of building an online Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). We quickly realized that an online DAW was interesting from a technical standpoint, but wasn’t necessarily compelling to musicians in and of itself. However, an online DAW did open some unique possibilities compared to existing desktop tools like Garageband or Pro Tools. If you combine a DAW with community features like you’d find in Facebook and Twitter, as well as collaborative tools like you’d find in Google Docs and GitHub, then you have something new and interesting that provides real utility to musicians.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We are currently 100% bootstrapped, but we are looking for funding. We’d love to raise $205,274 to help take Scratch Audio to the next level.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have no employees at this time, but we do have two developers (both are co-founders).
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Which platform are you building on? Why?
The DAW is built in MS Silverlight. There are only a few viable platforms for recording music in the browser. Of those, we felt that Silverlight had the best performance as well as the best developer story (in terms of time to market, robust language, and maintainability). Beyond that, being able to share code between both client and server is invaluable for our project. We also use ASP MVC, IIS7, and MS SQL. We’re also using a handful of open source libraries such as Lucene.Net and LAME.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
There’s a lot of excitement these days about mobile platforms, and rightly so. But, we also think that the home computer isn’t going away anytime soon. Advances in things like HTML5 and Silverlight are making a new generation of products possible. Moving traditional desktop software, such as home recording tools, to the cloud is pretty exciting.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
Most startups tend to shy away from the Microsoft stack and one reason for that is the price tag. This is even more profound when you’re bootstrapping your company. If it weren’t for the BizSpark program we would not have been able to afford to use Silverlight for Scratch Audio.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Everything takes three times longer than you think it will. And if you try and get smart and multiply all of your estimates by three, it will still take three times longer than that. Be patient. Don’t give up. It’s going to take a while, but it will be worth the effort. Oh, and it’s a rollercoaster. It’s not uncommon to bounce between “this is the greatest product ever” and “this will never work” within a few hours time span.
Who’s your role model?
I don’t really have a role model. I’m impressed by my wife a lot. I learn a lot from her. Francine Hardaway has also taught me a ton and been an invaluable resource.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
Work hard. Be patient. Keep refining and improving your idea. Listen to others. You’ll be surprised who’s willing to help you if you ask politely.