Ovelin, the creators of WildChords, has just announced it has received $1.4 (€1.1) million in seed funding from True Ventures. The Finnish company has already seen a great deal of successes for its innovative method for teaching the guitar, which provides instant feedback and gamified hooks to keep up motivation. WildChords counted 100,000 downloads in the first month of its release, and has racked up a full shelf of awards since leaving StartupSauna. With the funding Ovelin plans on strengthening their team and widening the number of platforms it is available on.
Their free iPad game is played with a real acoustic or electric guitar, and uses the iPad's microphone to evaluate users' performance and provide feedback in real-time. The gameplay is fairly simple; the user has to hypnotize animals by playing their favorite guitar chords while your character walks by them, inspired by the old fairy tale "Pied piper of Hamelin." I've gotten the chance to play WildChords and found it was merciless to my (many) mistakes, yet surprisingly addictive to start over and get each chord right. Once the users are finished with the free content, additional content is offered as an in-app purchases.
For those of us without an iPad but with an old guitar in the closet, Ovelin tells us that they are currently working on a cross-platform version of WildChords that should be able to run on "any device that can run Skype". The company will also be providing a focus on additional content for the guitar, saying, "Mostly we will be working on making the game richer in terms of gaming, but also in terms of guitar techniques such as strumming patters and finger picking exercises."
The Silicon Valley based VC firm may have found a new source of dealflow for the investment-- apparently one of True Venture's founders' sons had already started to learn to play the guitar with WildChords. "We are really excited to work with True Ventures, because they share our big vision of making the world more musical," says CEO and co-founder Christoph Thür.
Here's some additional news coverage on Ovelin: