Yousician raises $28M to make music education more accessible

Yousician, a Finnish music app developer that boasts 20M monthly active users across its music education app and guitar tuning app, raises $28M as part of its Series B round led by True Ventures 

In order to make music education more accessible, yousician raises $28 million

By his own admission, Chris Thür wasn’t the first person he would think of when it came to starting a music education company.

Yousician raises $28M
Yousician raises $28M

During an early meeting with an investor, Thür (previously a laser researcher) said he and co-founder Mikko Kaipainen (an electrical engineer) were asked whether they were music teachers or musicians. They ended up going through a list of what we were supposed to do to qualify for that kind of work. Each time, they had to decline.

The two of us were just two ordinary people who wanted to play an instrument and felt as if we were missing out on something,” Thür said. There was no doubt that we weren’t the only ones experiencing this.”

However, Thür and Kaipainen did start Yousician, which now has more than 20 million monthly users across its two apps — the music education application, Yousician, and the guitar tuning application, GuitarTuna. Although they couldn’t convince that unnamed investor to write them a check, they did start Yousician, which now has 20 million monthly users. The Helsinki-based startup announced today that it has raised a Series B round of funding totaling $28 million.

It has been a bit of a journey for Thür, CEO of Youngician, to get to where he is today. The company used to be known as Ovelin, which was founded a decade ago, and it originally focused exclusively on kids before focusing on a more general strategy to accomplish success.

It was his intention to describe the Yousician app as an interactive, gamified way for learning guitar, piano, ukulele, bass or singing, but it wasn’t too game-like. As users progress through a standard syllabus, they play for 15-20 minutes a day, and the app will listen to their performance and award one to three stars depending on how many mistakes they make. There is one lesson offered free of charge each day, but if a user wants access to more lessons (or if he wants to learn multiple instruments), he or she will need to sign up for one of the company’s Premium or Premium+ subscription plans, which start at $19.99 each month.

In Thür’s opinion, Yousician is a great way for people to learn music on their own schedule, and for a much lower price than taking a lesson in person. It is important to note, however, that this is not a “zero sum” competition between music teachers; there are some teachers who recommend Yousician to their students as a way to practice and learn between lessons.

Thür mentioned the case of Karen Gadd, who (as shown in the video below), went from never playing a musical instrument in one year to performing with her band on stage as an example of how Yousician can benefit its users as an example of how yousician can help its users. However, he has added that the app is beneficial to everyone, even if you never perform for anyone else.

The goal is to make musicality as common as literacy, Thür said. “Every person should play at least once or twice throughout their lives and get all the benefits that come with it. I have discovered that learning through a teacher works for many people, but unfortunately, it does not work for everyone.”

A challenging year, he said, but also a very interesting one for us over the past year. As more students switched to remote learning, a lot of music lessons did not take place. As a result, Yousician offered free premium subscriptions to over 100,000 teachers and students in order to compensate for some of those lost lessons.

A huge organic increase in usage was experienced during the pandemic as many people became interested in learning an instrument as part of a general focus on self-improvement, resulting in “a massive organic increase” in usage. A year ago, the company brought in a revenue of $50 million from 14.5 million monthly users to 20 million, with subscriptions increasing by 80%.

Currently, Yousician has raised a total of $35 million from investors. In addition to True Ventures, Amazon’s Alexa Fund and MPL Ventures also participated in the round, along with Zynga founder Mark Pincus, founder of LAUNCH Fund Jason Calacanis, founder of Unity Technologies David Helgason, co-founder of Trivago Rolf Schrömgens, co-founder of Cooler Future Moaffak Ahmed, and the executive chairman of Blue Bottle Coffee Company Bryan Meehan, among others.

A statement from True Ventures co-founder Jon Callaghan said, “Yousician has been leading the way in music instruction for nearly a decade, and people are now turning to music and creativity with renewed vigor than ever before,” he added. In our view, we are proud to be able to support a team and company that is bringing joy and excitement to more families and homes through the use of an instrument.

In a statement, Theur said that Yousician will be able to expand its team, improve its brand marketing, localize its product, and build up its relationships with musical artists with the new funding.

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