Keep an eye on the high potential Awaves
Keep an eye on them: the startup Awaves! This high potential won the UT Challenge with their idea for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) DJ. Since the summer, they have been working on this idea at Incubase with a team of ten. Who are the people behind this startup? What has this year been like for Awaves? What are their hopes for the future?
HOW IT ALL STARTED
“Awaves develops algorithms that can mix music automatically. We want this technology – which is built around Artificial Intelligence (AI) – to become especially popular among people who like to organize parties at home,” Erik van de Pieterman says. Although he is one of the startup’s founders, he does not call himself a CEO: “We do not use titles here.” Erik studied Business Administration and Philosophy at the University of Twente and has been interested in entrepreneurship from an early age. During his student years, Rogier and he founded Hive01, a foundation that stimulates entrepreneurship among students. “One night, I got to talking with Koen and Matthias. They pitched the idea behind Awaves. Rogier and I were sold immediately,” Erik says. Today, they have a team of ten working on Awaves’ development. Erik: “Our team is on the same level, which makes it easier to focus all our attention on our mission.”
WHAT DOES AWAVES DO?
“We create our own DJs – such as Chill Bill and Hip-hop Hailey – to optimize people’s music experience. We can help you out if you don’t want to hire a real DJ, but are looking for something more original than a simple playlist on Spotify,” Erik explains. Besides developing its own AI DJs, Awaves also wants to collaborate with famous real-life DJs on its platform Awaves World. “AI is one of the coolest technologies we have right now, and the Netherlands is the #1 DJ country in the world. We want to make a name for ourselves by bringing the two together,” Erik says. “How cool would it be to have Armin van Buuren’s AI playing live at a million parties at once via Awaves,” he laughs.
-Erik van de Pieterman: “We want to develop the best AI DJ in the world”
WHAT HAS THIS YEAR BEEN LIKE FOR AWAVES?
“Winning the UT Challenge was definitely a highlight for us. Several local parties, as well as e.g. the RVO, showed great enthusiasm for what we are doing. There are quite a few parties in the Netherlands who want to think big and help us out, which motivates us enormously.” Although Awaves launched the beta version of its streaming platform a while ago, COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works. Awaves shows no signs of stopping, though. Erik: “We want to use technology to develop the best AI DJ in the world. We are currently working on new features that allow users to listen to music together remotely and share it with their friends.”
WHERE ARE THEIR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE?
“Next year, we want to refine our AI mixing algorithms further and launch our Awaves Play app. With this app, there will finally be a quality product on the market to listen to music together,” Erik says. To realise this improvement, they are currently gathering seed money. They are also looking for angel investors who want to join them on this adventure. Awaves is not afraid of competition from real-life DJs. “We know that we can never fully replace the authentic DJ experience. What we can do, however, is offer better music than what is currently available in standard playlists,” Erik says. He also does not want to limit himself to the Netherlands; Awaves aspires to break into the international market. “In Twente, we can afford to think bigger and stimulate ambition more. The startup ecosystem has enormous potential!”
Awaves is still looking for developers and researchers who want to help the company build the best AI DJ in the world. Contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org or take a look at their Instagram page @awavesdj. Are you looking for a space to work on your startup or business idea? Reach out to us, Incubase! Or validate your idea in our START Program.