The Covid-19 pandemic did perhaps not change the rule book for innovation entirely, but it certainly connected us faster than ever online. Simon Hestermann became a popular mastering engineer while studying informatics. The sheer volume of requests for mastering was overwhelming and meant he could not prioritise all.
This sparked an idea of creating a service that could lower the barrier for artists getting their songs professionally mastered. And so he began programming the start of what later became Masterchannel. Close friends in the music community were allowed in to test and provide feedback.
MEANWHILE IN NORWAY
In parallel, Christian Ringstad Schultz laid the finishing touches to some tracks, reaching out into his network for recommendations for great mastering engineers.
Through fellow online friends he got in touch with Simon, who then revealed to him the first iteration of Masterchannel – back then labelled Masterbus. Christian got to test it out on the music most familiar to him and give his opinions in return.
Zoom calls came with a low barrier all by a sudden and the two decided to hook up to discuss plans for the future. The immediate plan was to continue the discussion on weekly calls commencing September 2020.
The next six months brought many revisions of the product, tapping into the music enterprise network and incorporating the company. In April 2021, then Masterbus.ai participated at 657 Academy and started pitching to the first investors.
Still, it would take 5 more months until they met in person for the very first time.
THE ALCHEMY OF PEOPLE & INVESTMENT
Approaching summertime, things really were put in motion. The growing interest from StartupLab surfaced and eventually led to them being the first investor. Shortly after, conversation began with Andrew Jackson, Matoma’s manager. I did not take long to hit the same notes and by August, Matoma joined as co-founder of now rebranded Masterchannel.
As a budding PhD at the University of Oslo, Christian suddenly found himself having to switch lanes as the growing interest in the company drew him to take on a full-time position. Simon, on the other side of the North-Sea, finished his master degree at King’s College London in September and started packing his things for a move to Oslo.
At the end of September, Masterchannel raised 3MNOK from 7 investors. The investor team was led by StartupLab, and included angel investors Sindre Haaland, Marius Ekerholt, Jonas Andersen, Chris Moen, Adam Scheuring and the eminent artist Ane Brun.
As November 2021 began, the founding team finally met for the first time as Simon landed at Oslo Gardermoen Airport, embarking on this new adventure. Mastering the birth of a new company.