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£ 280.765 Million

Mogees Wants to Bring About a One-Tap Revolution

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Mogees founder Bruno Zamborlin demonstrating the device by “playing” a metal door. (Image via Mogees)

Imagine being at home, enjoying a cuppa and a book. You tap on your coffee table and—zoom!— the lights in the room turn on. You tap twice, and they turn off. Fancy some music? You just need to scratch the table’s surface with your nail, and jazz will start flowing through. To control the volume, stroke the table again. That’s essentially the world Bruno Zamborlin wants to bring about: a place where every object, trinket or piece of furniture can moonlight as a controller for smart devices. A one-tap utopia.

Italian 34-year-old Zamborlin is the founder of Mogees, a London-based startup which initially emerged as a lovechild of machine learning and music, and is now upping its antes to take on the Internet of Things sector.

Mogees’ first product, Mogees Pro, was a coin-sized microphone comprising a vibration sensor and a machine learning framework. When fastened to a surface —a table, a bottle, a Soviet airliner (it did happen)—it converts vibrations produced by touching the object into music.  In other words, it can transform any physical object into a makeshift musical instrument, to play by means of taps and knocks.

Listen to a Mogees Pro demo

Mogees’ plan, now, is taking Pro’s main features , i.e.  the vibration sensor and the machine learning system, and condensing them into a smaller microchip which could be directly embedded in consumer products. What for? Possibly, still for musical purposes— who wouldn’t want a kettle playing  funny tunes each time you stroke it? Practically, though, the possible applications are much wider.

“I think this chip would be useful if you make toys, gaming controllers, IoT objects , or even furniture… and you want to ‘smartify’ them— so that touching them in different ways can switch on lights, activate anti-theft systems, open doors, anything really,” Zamborlin told Shack15 News.

“The machine learning algorithm would transform vibrations coming from people interacting with the object into information, into instructions.”

The accuracy of Mogees’ vibration sensor means that objects equipped with the chip would be able to recognise a vast gamut of different taps and strokes— and therefore be able to perform a wide range of tasks, in conjunction with Bluetooth-connected smart devices and appliances.

In Mogees’ vision, the new chip— currently under development and slated for release in a couple of months— would be sold to third-party companies and manufacturers to be included in their products.

“The devices we produced— Mogees Pro and [educational version] Mogees Play— turned out a revenue of about £700,000, but they were not really intended as our core business,” Zamborlin says. “They were more a way to showcase  our technology before we went B2B [business-to-business]. Which is happening now.”

The push in that direction eventually came when the company secured its third round of investment, just over two weeks ago: Mogees raised £1,045,000 (or $1.1 million) from a team of investors including Elio Leoni Sceti (erstwhile CEO of EMI Music),  Hotels4U founder Haim Perry , former EMI Music chair Eric Nicoli , and the A.I. Music Group.

“Some of our investors, in the past, have invested into chipmakers who ended up exiting with Intel or Microsoft,” Zamborlin says. “They have experience in taking on small B2C [business-to-customer] companies and scale them up to B2B dimensions.”

While the background of most backers suggests that music and entertainment will still be Mogees’ sector of choice to place their new product, Zamborlin says he is also liaising with companies operating in totally different fields, such as the automotive industry and the toy industry.

The fresh round of funding will be used to bring the new chip’s development to completion, and, potentially, to open new offices in other countries. Squeezed by the competition from tech giants — Alphabet, Apple, and Snap are just some technology corporations who have recently kick-started a London expansion— and faced with Brexit uncertainty, six-people-strong Mogees is finding it more and more difficult to hire talents.

“We are looking at moving our operations somewhere else while leaving the company’s financial HQ in London,” Zamborlin says. “London is experiencing a ‘Silicon Valley effect’: the industry heavyweights are snapping up many talents— and making salaries skyrocket. Going somewhere else to hire new staff could be a solution.”

Correction: the story previously stated that Mogees had received £850k in seed. It was £1,045,000.

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