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Music and technology team for virtual guitar lessons from Pittsburgh's Tunessence

Alex Soto plays trumpet and piano. Matt Bauch plays guitar. With their shared love of music, it’s no surprise that the two recent Carnegie Mellon engineering grads have teamed up to meld music and technology.
Tunessence, their Pittsburgh startup, is a virtual guitar teacher, combining advanced audio processing software with instructional video  that, says Soto, "emulates in-person instruction in your web browser."
The software uses the student's computer microphone to "listen," provide note-by-note feedback and personalize instruction with a catalog of popular songs.
Founded in mid-2012, Tunessence has already attracted significant capital: $50,000 each from Innovation Works  and Carnegie Mellon's Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund and $10,000 from a New York City angel investor.
Soto says the funds are being used to immediately hire a web designer, the third full-timer. The company also has four part-time developers and music teachers. The capital is also going to product development and marketing, mostly through online guitar communities and, potentially, in partnership with guitar makers.
Tunessence is still testing its product – and is looking for volunteer beta testers – with plans for a commercial launch in mid-March. The company is working out prices, Soto adds, but will function on a monthly or annual subscription basis. A sample, holiday version attracted about 250 users.
Looking ahead, Soto anticipates that "within a year, we should be flirting with profitability. That's the goal."
And he adds: "Guitar is only our starting point. Our underlying mission is to combine technology with music, to make learning instruments easier and entertaining.  Once we've figured out guitar, we'll be going after other markets aggressively."
Source: Alex Soto, Tunessence
Writer: Elise Vider
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