Singspiel was a hit as a thesis project, so why not make it a business

Singspiel’s story began two years ago as the topic of our engineering thesis project at the University of Waterloo. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come from that initial idea. It has been a great journey and while there were long nights and great support that got us to JOLT, the hardest work is still ahead of us.

In June 2011, picking something related to music, a passion of mine since childhood, was an obvious choice for my thesis. I would be spending eight months on the project, so why not do something I loved and considered to be important? This mindset extends to running a startup, because even though it will be a lot of work, it’ll be a blast at the same time. My thesis idea was to develop a practice tool that provides meaningful feedback to musicians about their playing. Arian joined me soon after and has been a force of nature, keeping us to our time lines and getting us into our first incubator program — the Velocity Garage in Kitchener-Waterloo.

After spending the next eight months on it, we demo’ed our prototype at the engineering symposium — a day where you get to show off your thesis project for friends, family and the public, having not slept for three nights while fine tuning it for the occasion. We won the award for Best Entrepreneur Potential, which was a big morale boost. It was also a big eye-opener, as even in it’s prototype stage, our booth was getting a lot of attention from children and parents, some asking to buy it on the spot.

In June 2012, we both graduated from the Systems Design engineering program and after seeing its potential, it was just seemed natural for us to bring our grand ideas to fruition. We started Singspiel because we recognized that the old ways of practising an instrument were fundamentally inadequate and we knew just the solution. Think of all the people you know that have tried to learn music and gave up before they got any good. While pitching my idea multiple times a day, everyone I’ve talked to has experienced that or knows someone that has.

Since then we’ve been building a great team, and now at JOLT, it is time to execute furiously to make sure we make a big impact.

We have incredible backing from JOLT, the mentors at MaRS, and great technical mentorship at the University of Waterloo as well as through partnerships with other universities worldwide. We have an exciting journey ahead of us and can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner.