May 29, 2017

Jamifind is the missing link for musicians

The basic band quartet of guitars, bass, drums singers represent 80 per cent of Jamifind users, but there are also less known instruments such as the didgeridoo.
The basic band quartet of guitars, bass, drums singers represent 80 per cent of Jamifind users, but there are also less known instruments such as the didgeridoo.
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Looking for a band or bandmate? This Finnish startup has a playful solution.

Whether it’s a fireman, policeman, politician or priest, kids often scale lofty heights when wondering what they’ll be when they grow up. Ile Mäentakanen was no different. Except, perhaps, for the fact that his dream eventually came true.

“I’ve been playing music in bands since the third grade,” he explains. “Back in the day, new band members naturally came through mutual friends. But there were lots of situations when we needed somebody special that we didn’t have in our circle of friends.”

Without an easy way to tap talent, these bands often languished as a result. Sure, community bulletin boards offered a sure-fire way to find fresh sounds, but this time-consuming process was, more often than not, merely a roll of the dice.

Fast-forward to 2017, however, and Mäentakanen now holds the perfect musical matchmaking solution in the palm of his hand.

Jamifind is about building your CV for musicians; a LinkedIn for musicians,” he explains. “We welcome all musicians to our platform and don’t discriminate between genres or skill levels. We want people to start to play an instrument, or go and jam with somebody.”

All aspects of the process are streamlined. Newcomers first create a profile and fill in some basic background info related to their instrument(s) of choice, skill level and influences. Photos, videos and sound can also be easily uploaded to their profile.

Then it’s merely a matter of searching for other musicians or music teachers nearby, or letting the service’s algorithms do the work and find compatible matches.

Updating traditions

“I believe in slow, steady growth, and building a steady foundation,” Mäentakanen states (left, pictured with cofounder Slobodan Stanic). “People say you have to fail fast, or grow fast. Sure, in some cases you have to, but maybe people are giving up too quickly.”

“I believe in slow, steady growth, and building a steady foundation,” Mäentakanen states (left, pictured with cofounder Slobodan Stanic). “People say you have to fail fast, or grow fast. Sure, in some cases you have to, but maybe people are giving up too quickly.”

Jamifind

The service represents the pot of gold at the end of a two-year rainbow for Mäentakanen and cofounder Slobodan Stanic. The duo initially bonded over their mutual frustration with how the time-honoured bulletin board had been updated for the digital age.

Putting their heads together, a solution quickly presented itself. A small seed round of 50 000 euros threw fuel on the fire, and they set about bringing their idea to fruition.

Jamifind went live nine months ago, and has since attracted 2 000 users both in Finland and the UK. Now it’s time to pick up the pace, with the goal of adding a zero to this total by the year’s end, predominantly from the UK.

“We are a ‘born global’ platform,” Mäentakanen underlines.

One way of facilitating this is by developing the service further for music teachers, a move that will also broaden Jamifind’s reach as an education tech company. The effect of such is two-fold.

In addition to serving a wider section of the musical community, this expansion into edtech also has appeal for investors and VCs. An angel investor himself, Mäentakanen is also keenly aware of attracting funding that supports his community-minded approach.

“As an investor, I really have to believe in what each company is doing, and that it is important for the future of mankind. I would never invest in something that wasn’t doing anything helpful.”

Feeling free musically

With Jamifind settling in for the long haul, what won’t be appearing any time in future is a price tag to access the service. Monetisation will continue to come from ads revenue, in order to keep the threshold low for newcomers.

“This means that users can find band members and get jamming quickly,” Mäentakanen states. “The same goes with learning instruments: if you want to learn guitar, one click and our platform will show all guitar teachers within a 50-kilometre radius.”

Nonetheless, whilst creative matchmaking remains at the forefront of the company’s ambition, Mäentakanen also gently reminds that it’s not called the music business for nothing.

“Those cases when someone using our platform actively has found band members, it’s beautiful, that’s why we are doing this,” he states. “Of course, if we get money from this, it would be even better.”

 

 

Text: James O’Sullivan

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