Jardson Almeida (Co-founder, CDO), Geraldo Ramos (Co-founder, CEO), Hugo Rodrigues (CTO), and Alziro Braga (Director of Product). Photo: Courtesy/Moises

Used by One Direction's drummer, a music-tech app founded by Brazilians raises $1.6 million to grow

An AI platform that allows audio source separation, among other features, Moises reached 4.2 million users in August. The app's co-founder and CEO, Geraldo Ramos, talked to LABS about the startup's next steps

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The music-tech startup Moises announced on Tuesday that it has raised a Seed funding of $1.6 million led by the Utah-based venture capital fund Kickstart, with participation from the funds Valutia, from Brazilian investor Kiko Lumack, and Verve Capital.

Five years ago, $10 million rounds were considered typical Series A rounds, but today that figure is being raised in Seed rounds. That’s why Geraldo Ramos, CEO, and co-founder of Moises, decided to raise a “small” Seed round so as not to dilute the company’s equity too much. “We chose to do a small round because the company is already profitable. It was scale-focused fundraising,” he told LABS.

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As a result, the funding was oversubscribed, meaning more interested investors than equity to be shared among them. “Other investors [who couldn’t participate now] may participate in future rounds,” said Ramos.

Kickstart is one of the largest venture capital funds in the Utah region, where Ramos lives, in Salt Lake City. Moises’ CEO was born in Recife but lived much of his life in João Pessoa – both cities in the Northeast of Brazil –, where he worked as a developer. In 2012, Ramos moved to New York, where he created the programming platform Hackhands, his first U.S. venture-capital-backed company, which was sold to Utah-based Pluralsight in 2015.

CEO and co-founder of Moises, Geraldo Ramos. Photo: Courtesy/Moises

Ramos spent five years working with Pluralsight, but he continued to develop side projects on weekends. That’s how he created Moises.ai, by poring over a Deezer open license algorithm that allowed you to separate music tracks, removing bass, vocals, or drums, for example.

An amateur drummer, Ramos used the algorithm to create the app’s prototype in 2019. The idea was to create a “democratic” product that anyone could use without knowing how to code to separate tracks with Deezer’s algorithm, for example. Last year, the CEO left Pluralsight to focus 100% on Moises.ai, hired a team of 28 people (24 in Brazil), and brought in two co-founders, Eddie Hsu and Jardson Almeida.

Today the company has three data scientists who have developed their own models based on the technology of splitting tracks’ vocals and instruments, with pitch/beats/chord detection, and metronomes, for example, which is one of the most used features in the app.

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The product has become very democratic; any musician can have access to technologies that only specialized people who work with audio had before

Geraldo Ramos, CEO, and co-founder of Moises.

More than 50% of Moises’ 4.2 million users are musicians, from people just starting out to professionals, like One Direction‘s drummer Josh Devine. “It’s very useful for practicing [an instrument]. If you play drums, you can reduce the drums sound in the original song and play yours on top, as well as using other tools like the metronome.”

The app reached 4 million users in July, its fastest-growing month, when it reached second place in the U.S. in the music app category, behind only Spotify in the App Store. Available in 21 languages, in the last 12 months, the countries that most accessed the app were: Brazil, Mexico, United States, Egypt, India, Iran, Italy, Argentina, Spain, and Peru.

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Despite being characterized as a free app, the platform works in a freemium model, ie, there are limitations on the free platform, such as the upload of only five songs. The premium service costs $3.99 per month, with a localized price by the App Store.

The new round will be invested in marketing and user acquisition to grow the brand worldwide and partner with artists. Part of the amount will also go towards research and algorithm development. Moises aims to reach 10 million users by the end of the year, which Ramos said is very likely to be surpassed.