Smart microphones made in Vienna
Thinking in global dimensions – smart microphones made in Vienna
Until now, achieving high recording quality for digital content when on the go was a costly and elaborate endeavour. Philipp Sonnleitner was just impatient and courageous enough to found a startup in Vienna. Mikme allows you to record, edit, and publish sound files in top quality using a microphone and smartphone. And Sonnleitner has garnered international success. By early August 2017 Mikme gained an investment of 1.6 Million Euro by the Viennese venture capital provider Speedinvest an co-investors Hermann Hauser und Camilla Zielinski (Mercurion Investment). The mastermind behind Mikme answered these questions:
How did you come up with the idea?
I am an ardent musician. Whenever I had an idea for a new song and composed it on the piano, it took forever for me to then be able to record it in studio quality. Tripods, cables, studio microphones, computers, sound cards, drivers, audio software – too much equipment, too expensive, a far too complicated set-up.
Where do the difficulties lie in producing a microphone coupled to a smartphone? In the programming or the hardware?
The technical challenge is to establish a wireless connection with such a sensitive capsule, which is supplied using a battery by means of so-called phantom voltage, which in turn is connected wirelessly to the smartphone. This is unique worldwide.
What’s it like to work in an international team?
It has both advantages and disadvantages. With a geographically scattered team, you have quicker access to experts in each respective area. Particularly thanks to our employees in the US, we have the necessary international spirit. On the other hand, the different time zones and the language barriers can also be a hindrance. But all in all, we have a great team.
Did you ever want to throw in the towel?
The longer the project lasted, the more often I thought about it. In particular, the transition from the development to the production phase, as well as the launch of serial production, were incredibly difficult, and cost us a lot of time, money, and resources. We have set ourselves a very high quality standard and have rarely deviated from our expectations. It took some time before we had actually reached that level in mass production. But in the long term, I think it is the only way – even if it takes longer, and puts a strain on the nerves and the pocketbook.
Your personal tip for entrepreneurs? Are there any dos and don’ts?
There are quite a few. You should follow your gut feeling and try to never lose your passion. And of course, hard work and honesty always pay off in the end. And the product has to solve a real problem. And I have the feeling that as Austrians, we are often self-deprecating and it’s difficult for us to think in global dimensions. We are currently delivering our mic to over one hundred countries. This is difficult and complex, but it is the only way for us to position ourselves on the international stage.
Who are your customers? And where are they located?
Musicians, journalists, podcasters, video creators. So basically anyone who wants to record digital content in high audio quality quickly and easily. One-third of our customers are from the EU, one-third from the US, and one-third from all other parts of the world.
And why are you staying in Vienna?
Why should we go anywhere else? After all, Vienna is the most liveable city in the world. We have pretty much everything we need here. Along with a really good cup of coffee.
The whole team is really quite musical. Will there be a Mikme band?
Yes, we definitely want to do that; we have a lot of musicians on the team. We are trying to make a Mikme jam room so that we always have all instruments on hand in the office. Spontaneous rehearsals are encouraged.
Services/grants provided by the Vienna Business Agency:
- Funded through the program departure_classic (now creative_project)
- Funding by programm Call Innovation 2015
Mikme can also be found on the Vienna Business Agency's database (in german).
Spittelauer Lände 12, Stadtbahnbogen 335
as of 08/2017