Listening to the sound of waves, thunder, or the forest may be pleasant to some, but trying to study or do work near a beach or in the woods may not be the best idea. However, thanks to the power of the internet, it is possible to bring the sounds home with you. Finnish startup Soundage, with its service SoundShade, brings the sound of nature to your iPhone, in order to help people calm down and focus as they work.
SoundShade offers a basic list of 34 different ambient noises, but what is interesting about this service is that they not only offer 9 pre-set templates, but allow listeners to combine noises and create their own sound (in 360 degrees, no less). The categories of sounds range from “Countryside Cafe” to “Cozy Home” to “Focus Field” and to “Autumn Forest” and the app can be downloaded for free, but users have the option of unlocking all sounds for 2.99 Euro. Overall, I am told that the startup generates revenue through sales in the App Store, monthly subscriptions, and one-off payments for installations and consultations.
Scott McGregor, a British sound designer living in Finland, tells me that the idea behind the startup came to him in 2014 as he was researching how sound and silence impact concentration. He found that previous research indicates that some amount of sound helps us, but that “noisy and chatty” environments are not necessarily the best. Thus, he set out with 2 co-founders to develop an ambient-noise library that could be used on iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV.
SoundShade’s app went live in March 2015 and they claim 45,000 users at this point. But they are not satisfied with an app and have developed the SoundShade Pro, a device designed to allow users to control the sounds online, with any device. That product is currently available through pre-order and is expected to be shipped this spring.
In terms of funding, McGregor acknowledged that they have received seed funding, but declined to provide information on who gave it or how much was given.