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The Muze team.
The Muze team.

DJing may become the latest occupation to face competition from machines.

Muze, a recent graduate from the 9Mile Labs Accelerator, is a cloud-based DJ simulator for bars and restaurants that want the ambiance a professional DJ provides, without the cost. Two Seattle-based entrepreneurs developed an algorithm to simulate what a DJ does behind the decks — from song selection to transitions, and even karaoke.

“We’ve experienced the pain points that the bar owners have been expressing and we wanted to provide them with an entertainment platform that allows them to thoroughly entertain their customers in the most optimal/cost-effective way,” said Muze CEO Karan Oberoi.

Oberoi and CTO Akhil Chandan have bene DJing themselves for about 15 years. Initially, they developed Muze as a hobby project before realizing its marketable potential. We caught up with Oberoi for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.

Muze CEO Karan Oberoi.
Muze CEO Karan Oberoi.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “You know when you host a party and have to find a way to entertain your guests? Bars and lounges do that every day and spend thousands of dollars a month. We make it easier for them, and bring them quality entertainment at low cost. With DJ-quality automatic transitions, music videos, video karaoke, and games on the TV, we help bars save money while bringing in more customers.”

Inspiration hit us when: “With experience in both DJ-ing and programming, our CTO realized that both worlds could be meshed in order to make the DJ experience affordable and accessible, seven days a week. When sitting down and coding the project as a hobby, we heard how different songs mesh together based in Javascript code — this provided the inspiration, drive, and energy needed to make our business come to fruition. Our love for good music is what fueled us from Day 1!”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We are looking for angel investors because we want individuals who share our vision and can take a narrowed approach to our scaling process.”

Muze_Final_24082015Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “The unique algorithm we created to cut up songs, smart shuffle, and transition between songs in order to create an experience similar to a DJ. No other platform has created anything that can blend songs similar to the way a DJ would, and the reception to this has been outstanding so far.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “The smartest move we’ve made so far is to move to Seattle. Initially, we are from California. Seattle provides us with the network, connections, and expertise we need in order to build a scalable, successful company. The startup ecosystem in this city is extremely helpful and beneficial to us.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “The biggest mistake we’ve made so far is to consider bars and lounges our sole source of revenue. We recently introduced an ad revenue model that simultaneously increases the bar owners’ and our profits.”

Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Gates. Because of his tenacity, and his depth in so many different industries. Microsoft owns video, music, and gaming platforms. That could all be tremendously helpful to us.”

Our favorite team-building activity is: “Both co-founders come from a background of DJing. As a result, we regularly brainstorm different features we can add that will completely automate the DJ process.”

The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Someone that can work hard, and play harder. We are hardworking individuals with great sense of humor and expect our employees to be a part of that company culture.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Make sure there is a market for your product before you spend any time building it. You don’t want to waste time developing a product that no one is going to buy. Also, make sure you have an undying passion for your product, because you will see up and downs, and you will be tested in every way before you can achieve your vision.”

Editor’s note: GeekWire is featuring each of the companies participating in the 9Mile Labs incubator fall cohort. 

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