HaKiGo Won Startup Weekend Battle

For the first time ever, 2018 winners from Startup Weekend Luxembourg and Startup Weekend Saarbrücken battled! The first edition took place in Luxembourg. German startup HaKiGo carried off the laurels. Here’s an interview with the founder, Florian Haupenthal.
What is your startup about?

We want to help guitar players to find their personal sound. Typically, the best guitar sound comes from tube amplifiers, but different tube models and different circuits produce different sounds. Therefore, finding the right sounds takes a lot of time and research, but it the end, guitar players end up with a trade-off between what’s available, affordable and what suits them.

Two, since our technology stack ranges from soldering irons over low level programming languages to web technologies, we are – and have to be – really passionate about automating stuff, especially when it comes to code quality and recurring tasks.

How did you come up with the idea?

Actually, from two different sides. I was working at the Saarland University compiler design lab, doing research in the area of static program analysis, typically for embedded systems. A colleague came up with a new piece of technology that we wanted to develop further.

On the other side, I’m a drummer. And especially when I played for other bands, I saw that the reason why I almost became deaf was that most guitar players, no matter how good they were with the instrument itself, didn’t seem to have much knowledge about their equipment and how to use it wisely.

“The typical customer for our product is a guitar player who just outgrew his simple starter amp, or an advanced guitarist searching for his personal sound.”

What are your products/services?

We develop an interactive, video-based ordering process, where we ask guitar players polarised questions, like “do you prefer more of a modern sound or more of a classical taste?” From their answers, we derive a matching circuit for their needs, then a mathematical model that we emulate on a special hardware we have developed. In the end, guitar players get amps that suit them perfectly and are still as easy to use as their analogue counterparts.

What is your business model?

Primarily, we will sell hardware. You buy it online after going through our interactive process and you get a piece of hardware that suit you (as a guitar player) perfectly. Later on, you can even reprogram it with the same process for free.

For business customers, we are planning a consulting/coaching product.

Who are your clients?

The typical customer for our product is a guitar player who just outgrew his simple starter amp and doesn’t want to try several amps, or an advanced guitarist searching for his personal sound.

Consulting wise, we are the perfect jump start for companies that want to establish agile development that actually works and that don’t want to spend a lot of time and resources on research before getting started.

“I have a feeling that if you leave a startup weekend without any kind of a prototype, your idea just might not be realistic.”

What are the next steps in your development?

We want to deliver the best emulations possible. Therefore, we had to do a lot of scientific analysis, which we just finished now. So, right now, we are putting our results on our hardware, designing a case and growing a community via a Website, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Why did you participate in a Startup Weekend?

Originally, I didn’t even want to because I didn’t have much time. But in the end, a friend convinced me to join the weekend on short notice. For me it was just to meet new people and try the different kinds of beer that they had. But in the end, the weekend was really intense. If I would have known earlier, I would not have hesitated to participate.

What are the advantages of Startup Weekend?

If you have “just an idea,” this is a very compressed occasion to get it validated. But what I like even more, on such a weekend, you get to know a very special kind of people. You can find people that are motivated anywhere. You might even find the specialists who could solve your problem. But Startup Weekends have a special pace. I have a feeling that if you leave a startup weekend without any kind of a prototype, your idea just might not be realistic.

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