Email: info@businessangels.si    /    Telefon: +386 31 717 367

Dear Investor,

We are pleased to share with you another investment seed opportunity.

Pedals make guitars sound great, but they’re on the floor, and you need to step on each one to change your sound. All while you’re trying to be great with your guitar. Nor can you adjust them… so one pedal, one sound! SonicMind enable guitarists to get all the tones they want, whenever they want, just by pressing 1 footswitch!

To change the sequence of pedals in the sound chain, there are switchers – though not all switchers do this, some simply allow you to turn pedals ON/OFF. These are very complex to program and take up a lot of space at the front of the pedalboard. There is no capability to change the settings of pedals on the fly. Currently, a lot of pedalboards don’t have a switcher as the complexity vs the cost vs the benefit it gives isn’t enough. Therefore guitarists continue to either compromise their sound on stage or tap-dance like crazy! 

The team is looking 100.000 Eur of investmetn to increase sales and gain market share.

 

We will be allocating slots as follows:

  1. Business Angels of Slovenia members
  2. BAS partners

Further information:

  1. The minimum investment is EUR 10.000 (as part of syndicate; also, full solo investments are acceptable)
  2. Maximum investment is EUR 100.000 
  3. We might have to cut back if we are oversubscribed
  4. Accepting allocations until the June 4th (if not oversubscribed earlier) 

If you are interested, please email 

nina.dremelj@businessangels.si

maja.krizan@businessangels.si or mark your interest directly here 

 

DECK: Here 

ROUND DETAILS: Raising EUR 100.000 EUR, EUR 8.000.000 pre-money valuation (8% equity share or investment as convertible loan)

STAGE: pre-seed

Runway: TBD

Information rights: Yes

Soft – committed in this round (EUR~ 0) – we will keep this updated

 

Problem

The company is solving the problem of guitarists that use pedals in order to enhance the sounds of their guitars. These guitarists have several different pedals on the floor and have to step on each one individually in order to get a certain sound; you can not adjust them, which means one pedal, one sound. This means that it is inconvenient and confusing to use the guitar pedals.

  • 52% of guitarist own 10+ pedals
  • 26% own 6-9 pedals
  • only 22% own less than 5 pedals (and they usually also want more)

Furthermore, possible solutions like switchers are very complex and require a lot of programming in order to set them up in the right way.

Product

The SonicMind Ecosystem for guitarists is an application for Android and iOS that allows the guitarists easy remote control of analog guitar effects. The application has a Cloud-backed APP and it allows for different pedals to be synced into their ecosystem. Furthermore, the company cooperates with manufacturers to include their software in their hardware products.

The SonicMind Ecosystem for guitarists is an APP (Android, iOS), some control hardware (can also be licensed), and our tech to be built-in to any pedal. It enables easy REMOTE control of any pedal with pre-programmed tones for every part of the song. The App enables guitarists to unlock their creativity, at last; in other words, the solution eliminates the need for having soo many different pedals, but it gives the guitarists the possibility to have all of the sounds they would want in one single pedal.

Software

The company has developed an application through which guitarists are able to create pre-sets, songs, set-list and eliminate the need for using different pedals for a specific song as you can quickly switch through different presets. The settings are relayed to pedals and the pedals are switched in/out in real-time. Furthermore, the software also allows for the sequence of pedals to be changed in the loop.

The application works on any table/mobile (iOS or Android).

Hardware

In addition to the application the SonicMind company also has its own pedals, that allows the user to simply scroll through the different setlists. The setting is relayed to pedals and pedals are switched in/out in real-time. Furthermore, the sequences in the pedals in the loop can also be changed.

In addition to their own pedals, the SonicMind’s solution is also able to work with any other pedal. It allows the pedals to be switched in/out and sequenced, which gives the user the possibility of having an infinite version of each pedal.

Team

Carlo Sorasio – World-renowned guru in analog pedal and amp market. Also extensive contacts throughout the target market.

Rob Howland – Experienced business manager with experience in GTM strategies, planning, and business development.

Urban Centa – An expert in integrated solutions in the field of communications, advertising, IT technologies, and music. Highly experienced in the creation and production of advertising campaigns, public relations, web services, event management, the broadest specter of musical activities as well as the design and implementation of projects in new technologies. Inventor and holder of several worldwide patents.

Additional Team and Company information

SonicMind is the developer of the platform technology with Urban Centa as CEO.

LAA Custom is an artisan pedal and amp manufacturer from Turin owned by Carlo Sorasio.

Urban and Carlo have known each other for many years and Carlo has been the guru ensuring the analog tone is untouched by the SonicMind technology. He helped massively in the development of SonicMind’s original products (the PedalCommander and PedalController). These were meant as platform demonstrators, with the plan that manufacturers adopting SonicMind technology would also adopt these products and make their own versions of them.

Market

The Global Guitar Pedals Market was valued at USD 7.5 billion in the year 2021. In the period till 2028, it is expected to grow with a CAGR of 4.3% (Source: dataintelo.com)

The SonicMind’s end customers are all guitarists that will buy the pedals off the pedal manufacturers (currently 3.5 million pedals are sold per year and the number is growing).

These manufacturers (pedals & amplifiers & switchers) will be the direct customers. Initially, the company will target major/medium brands in order to build volume and exposure.

There is a possibility that some customers will see them initially as a threat (brands such as Boss and GigRig), but these are planned to become their best customers after the company has established a base of early adopters and will have several pedal brands in the market.

Business Model

SonicMind’s business plan is effectively for all its income to be generated by B2B engagement. Even if the license fees aren’t paid directly by the manufacturers (there’s the option for end-users to pay the license fee on activation), the inclusion of SonicMind technology by the manufacturer will guarantee the future license fee income.

SonicMind technology will be built into manufacturers’ equipment by them. This can happen in a number of ways (depending on the size and headspace of the manufacturer):

  1. They provide the requirements and component specifications and the manufacturer then handles all component purchasing and full manufacture themselves. SonicMind would set up a method of licensing and chip programming so that there is a charge levied for each time they program the relevant components with our FW. 
  2. They sell the manufacturer sub-assembly boards with SonicMind chips on them, already pre-programmed with their FW. These are then integrated into the manufacturers’ gear.
  3. They provide a subcontract manufacturing service for those boutique manufacturers who don’t want to be involved with the engineering needed.

Revenues

The company has recently started its Reverb (a platform for buying musical gear) launch and it turned out to be a success. In their first full week, they sold over 25 units, for which the prices range from €780 + DDV to €900 + DDV. The spread of buyers includes Estonia, Australia, the USA, Canada, and the UK, with an active inquiry from S. Korea too! In the second week the company sold 3 additional units, but these numbers are planned to increase with additional promotional material.

In the future, the company is planning to significantly increase the number of orders by further accessing their own mailing list, further marketing by Reverb in Europe, and hopefully soon adding in their US marketing team, professional reviews, etc. They also have over 210 people on Reverb “watching” the product, which Reverb are confident can be converted (at least many of them) towards the end of the campaign.

LAA Custom has paid SonicMind for licenses as the customer. LAA Custom has a range of products with a modest revenue stream. The revenue stream from the Reverb campaign is paid to LAA Custom d.o.o. (jointly owned by Urban and Carlo) to pay for the manufacture of SmartSwitchers. 

Currently, LAA Custom is the only revenue stream for SonicMind. The Reverb campaign is less about revenue and more about seeding the market with as many “SonicMind inside” units as possible in order to have a seeded market for the main manufacturers to aim for.

The company also has a monthly burn rate of approximately 15,000 EUR.

The initial reaction of the consumers

  • Marshall said that they will adopt the technology
  • Many very positive customer ratings and high star valuations
  • 2500 registered on the pre-launch website
  • good feedback from press and Basschat
  • Dunlop, BandLab, Boss & Carl Martion showing renewed interest
  • and many other positive reactions from the music community and industry

Intellectual Property

PATENTS 

The company has its technology protected by patents currently in the US, EU and AUS. In the future, it is planning to also get patented in more markets.

List of patents:

    • US patent 10587237
    • EU patent 3 381 031
    • AUS patent 2016358829
    • SI Patent 201500285

All of the patents are assigned to Urban Centa as an individual. The transfer of ownership to the company is a matter of agreement with the Investors.

TRADEMARKS

SONICMIND – registered, No: 1351287, Trademark office: WIPO, Type: World, Nice classification: 09, 15, 35, Designation(s) under Madrid Protocol: AU-EM-JP-US

Unit Economics

The onboarding costs we are considering are itemized as follows:

  1. Sales costs – average €3,200 per month, onto which can be added part of the staff costs.
  2. Marketing costs – Currently, including exhibition presence, social, print/online media, mailshots, etc. the company budgets for an average of €25k per month.
  3. Engineering costs – Currently budgeted a total of €12k per month on engineering staff in year 1, out of which the company believes 50% will be in customer-facing support. Therefore, the onboarding costs in engineering will be in the region of €6k per month.

For LAA Custom, the costs of customer acquisition are not yet set as the company finalizes the bid pricing and limits of the ads we are placing in order to achieve the short-term aims.

For Sonic Mind, taking all the above-mentioned costs into consideration, it is expected the cost of acquisition of each manufacturer to be as follows:

  • Year 1 – €40k
  • Year 2 – €10k
  • Year 3 – €3k

The maintenance of app + FW could be counted as the engineering staff costs not used in customer acquisition and maintenance plus an estimated figure for full hosting costs. The total of these costs is expected to be a maximum of €7k per month.

Key milestones in the next periods

Since the Reverb launch the company is expecting between 35-100k EUR of Revenue depending on its success. During the Reverb campaign, the company will also start talks with the key manufacturers. 

In the next six months, the company is planning to work directly with LAA Custom (Kickstarter or Reverb pre-orders) and Carl Martin (commercial discussions are about to start).

In the next 12 months, the company is planning to tackle other manufacturers such as Dunlop, Marshall, Fender, Mesa Boogie, and others. 

Furthermore, the company is also planning to work with SmartSwitcher influencers and also attend the GuitarSummit Mannheim in September with several influential artists representing them.

Talks already going on with manufacturers:

We have held introductory discussions with several manufacturers:

  • Dunlop Manufacturing – discussions with the owner of the company (Jimi Dunlop – who is a personal friend of Urban + Carlo). They are wary of being the first mover (conservative and limited by Covid when we were initially discussing). We expect the arrival of SmartSwitcher to change this and will be speaking with Jimi soon.
  • Carl Martin – we have held good discussions with Søren Peter Jongberg (CEO), he is keen to introduce SM tech to his legendary Octaswitch and may fit it to many of his pedals too. Waiting for the first market moves by LAA and will then be acting.
  • Mesa – iconic amp and pedal manufacturer. Are keen on the idea, but would ideally like it to include amplifiers – this is now developed.
  • Marshall – very much the same story as for Mesa.
  • Fender – Interested in concept. Need to move it forward with them.

Planned future market capture

  • by mid-2023 – 9 SM-inside models launched (2 boutique, 7 majors)
  • by mid-2024 – 38 SM-inside models launched (9 boutique, 29 majors)
  • by mid-2025 – 100 SM-inside models launched (25 boutique, 75 majors)

The majors provide 800 units/month per model and the boutique provide 20 units/month. The SonicMind company is getting 20 EUR income per unit.

Current Shareholders Structure

Urban Centa (Ovum d.o.o.)

98 %

2 %

Rob Howland (Coffee Cup Consulting d.o.o.)

Vision

The company plans to become the go-to solution for any guitarists looking to enhance their experience with sound switchers.

Competition

The company has indirect competitors such as GigRig and Boss, which make high-quality switchers, and other digital multi-effect manufacturers such as Kemper, LineOne, and MOD Audio.

However, none of these companies directly make what SonicMind is all about with their SmartSwitcher which offers a specification that either matches or exceeds those of the gold-standard Gig-Rig G3. However, SmartSwitcher also has SonicMind technology built-in. This means that, as SM technology is added to different manufacturers’ pedals, SmartSwitcher (in fact any SM capable switcher) will ALSO be able to change the actual pot settings of the individual pedals. This is only possible currently with midi-enabled pedals, of which there are only a limited number*.

In addition, both Gig-Rig and Boss would be likely customers of SonicMind as it is an off-the-shelf technology that will improve their products immediately, and, connecting to the SonicMind app will be needed if they are to offer control of pre-sets on pedals.

Main barriers identified:

  • insecurity on the behalf of the manufacturers with respect to launching new products 
  • finding embedded engineers and HW design engineers

Exit Strategy

The company is planning to make an exit through a company buyout, IPO/IRO.

One likely scenario is for interested industry giants (Roland, BandLab, Dunlop) to buy SonicMind as the operation of a central standard (similar to Bluetooth having the main stakeholders paying to be the steering committee).

Monetization of the data opens up interest from Google, Meta, Amazon, etc.

The company is planning to make an exit in the next 5 – 10 years. The company believes that in this time they will be able to become a de-facto standard and will furthermore settle on the best ways to monetize/employ the data they have gathered.

Disclaimer

Please note that we are yet to complete our in-depth DD. This is the information we have received from the start-up and have not cross-checked everything. If we find any untrue information in this memo and you commit, we will inform you. 

Investing in an early-stage start-up is a risky investment, therefore we advise you not to invest what you cannot afford to lose.