This week’s “Member Of The Week” is Mimi Hearing Technologies. Mimi is the world’s leading provider of hearing-based audio personalization. Because we all hear differently, Mimi’s team of in-house hearing scientists developed its biologically-inspired and proprietary audio processing technology, that knows how well a user hears in order to optimize their listening experience. It is based on years of research and informed by the results of over 1.5 million Mimi Hearing Tests. Along with its award-winning technology, Mimi can also claim to have created the world’s largest database of digital hearing profiles. Mimi can be easily integrated into consumer electronics devices, such as headphones, smartphones, TVs, in-flight entertainment systems and a range of systems and platforms.
We talked with Philipp Skribanowitz, founder and CEO of Mimi and Andreas Berglind, Mimi’s Marketing Manager about their journey with Mimi and their future plans.
Tell us more about MIMI HEARING TECHNOLOGIES, the process of founding the company and the unique use of technology.
Philipp Skribanowitz: One of the things we realized is that billions are spent on audio improvement but the last inch is not considered – your unique hearing. An ability that is very personal and different from the person next to you. We founded the company to tackle this with a scientific approach. With our Mimi Engine, we continue to iterate on this optimization process using advanced machine learning techniques, combined with our growing hearing database (1 million tests and counting) and advanced psychoacoustic modeling to personalize audio, bringing back details otherwise lost, to a user’s unique hearing ability, in all the places we listen.
From the initial idea to getting the company off the ground, what have been the biggest challenges thus far, for instance: how did you manage to secure funding and build a team? What are the current challenges for the company and the Mimi family?
Philipp Skribanowitz: One challenge has been building a deep tech company in Europe at the intersection of health and lifestyle, which not many investors are experienced with. With this said, we are very grateful to our investors that understand both worlds along with our early partners BARMER (health insurance) and beyerdynamic (premium headphones) that dared to innovate with us.
Another challenge that we’re continuing to tackle is doing something purposeful in a less stigmatizing manner. We created our hearing test apps so that people could check their hearing in the comfort of their home, to make hearing accessible and not something that was associated with being old or having to go to an audiologist, but rather as important to look after as any other sense. Today, our ears are one of the tech world’s hottest topics, with the giants picking up speed, placing our hearing in the center.
Last month, Mimi participated in the IFA event. What were your highlights? Any new companies, products or business models that caught your eye?
Andreas Berglind: It was a great IFA for us, also being a Berlin-based company, this is our arena. This year, we had a booth and a tour bus just outside (that Ziggy Marley just before us and other artists like Pink had been on tour with) to unveil our new exciting announcement. At the booth, we demoed our new showcase integrations where visitors could take a short hearing test and experience the difference between Mimi on and Mimi off, listening to an audiobook in a busy cafe. This really caught people’s eyes.
On the tour bus, we had partners and media joining us to see our new sleek and easy to integrate mobile SDK that allows our partners to bring an audio personalization experience to their products, and even easier as we also announced an array of new technology partners in DSP Group, Qualcomm and Cadence.
At IFA, you also announced a partnership with Panasonic Avionics . What does the cooperation between Mimi and Panasonic Avionics entail? What are the immediate practical benefits for Mimi customers and the company itself?
Andreas Berglind: Yes, Panasonic is a very exciting partnership for us as it allows us to reach more people worldwide. For the passengers, they will be able to enjoy audio personalization in any supporter Panasonic Avionics airline cabins while watching their movies or listening to their favorite music during the flight.
Please name 3 tools, resources, applications etc. you or your team use daily?
- The first thing coming to mind is First Round Capital’s amazing knowledge pool called “FirstSearch“. They have great in-depth articles, and conversations on most startup questions you can think of.
- Another one is BlipBlip. This is an app that has one job. To remind me 5 minutes before every hour with a gong to be mindful of time or wrap up a meeting and prepare for what’s next.
- Lastly a small self-promotion for the self-tracking nerds amongst us: our Mimi Hearing Test with a fresh integration into Apple’s Health Kit to monitor your hearing ability over time.
Do you have a musical listening tip (song or video) or a favorite podcast about music tech for the community?
Philipp Skribanowitz: As for the listening tip with Mimi, try some old instrument-rich songs to uncover parts of the recording you never have been aware of like subtle instruments of breathing or other sounds in the studio.
Another one is “The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish” Podcast, to get my mind out of daily business noise.
Finally, as “senior” startup founders who have come quite a way together, what is your tip for our community and entrepreneurs in the making? What advice would you like to share with founders who are just starting out?
Philipp Skribanowitz: Found your venture for the right reasons. The road ahead will have its bumpy parts from time to time, so it is good to work on something that is worth doing and that you really care for, also in the long run. So avoid doing things because they are “fashionable” or hot at the moment.