The average courtside ticket to an NBA game is priced at around $2,000, as reported by Sportskeeda.
While this might not pose a significant hurdle for the typical celebrity or CEO, it often places that premium experience out of reach for the average sports fan.
However, Valterri Salomaki and the innovative team at Edge Sound Research are using the power of vibrations and patent-pending technology to replicate that premium experience, regardless of where your seat may be.
Valtteri Salomaki is the CEO and Co-Founder of Edge Sound Research, a company that’s bringing realism to sound experiences via vibration.
Edge Sound Research has been making some serious noise over the past couple of years. They’ve been a part of the Minnesota Twins Accelerator, powered by Techstars, participated in the NBA Launchpad program, and even secured a win at the Rally IN-Prize pitch competition.
During Valtteri’s visit to Indianapolis for Rally, we had the opportunity to sit down and dive deeper into Edge’s journey. We explored how plugging into the amateur sports capital of the world can take their business to the next level.
In our conversation with Valtteri, you will learn about:
- Revolutionary SportsTech Advancements: Discover Edge Sound Research’s breakthroughs in the world of SportsTech.
- Turning Research into Innovation: Explore how research at universities is transformed into real-world innovation.
- Indiana’s Winning Play: Uncover the secrets of why Indiana is the ultimate hub for nurturing SportsTech companies’ growth.
This conversation took place at Rally, the Largest Global Cross-Sector Innovation Conference. Rally forges and celebrates cross-sector connections between companies, entrepreneurs, investors and universities from across the globe and features a $5M cash IN-Prize pitch competition, 1:1 investor meetups, a demo arena, content sessions and more.
Rally 2024 will take place from August 27-29, 2024 in downtown Indianapolis. Register now for early bird prices >>
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Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Companies and organizations:
- EDGE Sound Research
- University of California, Riverside
- Elevate Ventures
- Omnidollar Ventures
- Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
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Nate: From the crossroads of America in the Hoosier state of Indiana, this is Get IN. The podcast focused on the unfolding stories and extraordinary innovations happening in the heartland today. I’m Nate Spangle, head of community at Powderkeg, and I will be your host for today’s conversation. Today we have a live recording from Rally, the largest global cross sector innovation conference that was held right here in Indiana.
On the show today is Valtteri Salomaki, founder and CEO of Edge Sound Research.
Nate: Valtteri Salomaki is the CEO of Edge Sound Research, a company focused on bringing realism to sound experiences by introducing a new patent pending audio technology. Edge Sound Research was selected as a winner of the N Prize Pitch Competition for Sports Tech at Rally.
This interview was recorded before they knew they were selected as winners and it is gold. Please enjoy this live episode of Get IN From Rally.
Valtteri: So my name is Valtteri Salomaki. I’m the CEO of Edge Sound Research. Oh, okay. And where are you from? I’m from Riverside, California, right outside of Los Angeles. All right.
Nate: Right outside of LA tell us about your company.
Valtteri: Our company, Edge Sound Research has invented a new patent painting, audio technology, where we can actually transform any ordinary objects. So let’s say a stadium seat into a multis, sensorial audio experience, allowing you to hear and feel every frequency of sound. So you can actually enjoy a sporting event, like a basketball game, and hear and feel every dribble, every shot, every swoosh, directly from your seat and your body.
Are you wearing headphones?
You’re not wearing any headphones.
Nate: Wait, so I’m sitting up in the rafters at the Staples Center, right? And how does that work?
Valtteri: So the way our technology works is we figured out a mechanism to control vibration. And the vibration to a seat emanates all the acoustic sound that you would hear.
A dribble has a little pop sound to it. So you’re hearing all those sounds, but also since it’s transmitting through vibration, it gives you the entire range that your body can actually also feel.
Nate: Oh my gosh. So this sounds like a heck of an experience. How long have you been working on this?
Valtteri: So we’ve been working on this now for almost four years.
We originally started it with research at University of California, Riverside. I met my co-founder there. I was doing my MBA. He was doing his PhD in music. And we stumbled upon it because my co founder was originally born hard of hearing became a professional musician, composer, and audio engineer.
And the way he was able to compete in that industry, obviously somebody who’s hard of hearing, was he used to touch speakers and drums and instruments. And he realized that all the information he wasn’t getting from his ears, he would pick up through the touch of his skin.
Nate: Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. How big is your guys’ team?
Valtteri: So the core team’s only six people. So it’s me on the business side and five engineers of knocking out and then building out our technology. Yes.
Nate: Okay. And. Where are you going to take it to market at first? What’s like the, one, where are you, where’s like the plan and where is like the end goal to be?
Valtteri: Yeah, so right now we’ve been working with both Major League Baseball with the Minnesota Twins and also with NBA. We were one of seven companies working with the NBA over the last six months in their NBA Launchpad program. Deploying this in, in, in live environments. So we did live games at the Sacramento Kings.
We did NBA 2K, their eSports League. We’ve also done the Summer League, which we were recently at in Las Vegas. So the introduction right now is in sports first, focusing on premium experiences, but the ultimate goal is to then take it out of venues and bring it to people at home in their living room so you can watch a basketball game or sporting event at home, and you can feel like you’re still courtside or enjoying that game in a new way, but that’s only a small fragment of our business sound is everywhere.
Sound is in your car, it’s in gaming, it’s in, literally every industry uses sound in one way, shape, or form, so our ultimate vision is this becomes the new mechanism of designing audio experiences and building the very first ever multi modal operating system to create this future of sound that has just never been possible before.
Nate: Now, is this mostly software or are we talking hardware as well?
Valtteri: It’s a combination of both. We had to build the hardware because the hardware didn’t exist. But we used off the shelf components to show that, it’s possible to create the hardware. But the magic really is in the software to control so that any object we attach your devices to can create this full range audio experience that you can hear and feel.
Nate: All right, so how did you find out about
Valtteri: Rally? So I found out about Rally a couple ways. I have a couple investors out here in Indiana as well as folks from Elevate reached out to me. One of our first investors was Miles Grote from Omnidollar Ventures. So it was a great opportunity to see everything that’s happening here and in Indy.
But the other thing that’s so exciting to me about Indy is just the… It has all the sports here. We have a basketball team here. There’s a football team here there’s a motor sport. So that combination made it very interesting for me to come out and come here to rally
Nate: The premium audio experience of the Indy 500 would be something special have you been in indianapolis before?
Valtteri: I’ve been here now a couple times So this is my third time here in a
Nate: Third time. Okay. What was your first impression of indianapolis or indiana as a whole?
Valtteri: So the first impression I had was everybody’s actually incredibly nice and really wanted to support. That was actually one of the things that was quite refreshing is when I came here everybody wanted to make connections, everybody wanted to support open doors even prior to me having any standing at all here in Indy.
So that was a cool kind of opening that it felt. that people really want to support new ideas and really drive innovation here in Indy.
Nate: Amen, you’re hitting, that’s hossier hospitality we’ve been talking about. Okay. So outside the pitch competition, what have been some of the benefits or highlights of your experience here at Rally?
Valtteri: So some of the benefits have been really meeting folks from different industries that we’re looking into in the long run. So we met people in the medical field. We met people in research. We’ve met people in the acoustic research side. So meeting those folks has been phenomenal because it’s not only potential partnerships, hires and investors, but it also leads to the ecosystem as a whole and how our technology here could I think it’s really thrive in different pathways that we don’t really think about because having great universities out here like IU for research around the medical side, having great engineering talent such as Purdue.
That’s very attractive for a business such as ours, which is a very deep tech research based organization that those are the kind of talent that we’re going to need over time to really build the future we want to build.
Nate: And so you talked a little bit about the background of your co founder in the audio space.
What’s your background in?
Valtteri: Yeah. So my background is in marketing strategy information systems. I spent both my undergrad and my MBA really researching emerging technologies. I built a consulting company right out of my undergrad, working on digitizing traditional businesses and using new types of technologies to give them a fair edge because I used to work at a company called Esri they do geospatial analytics.
So if for example, Google Maps that’s powered through Esri technology and understanding what big corporations and organizations have access to these different technology and tools, I wanted to bring that to small businesses. So that’s where my entrepreneurial journey got started.
And then from there met my co-founder and ever since been building this company.
Nate: I love it. So here’s just a couple rapid fire, quick hitter questions. How do you plan on maximizing Rally, right? Pitch competition aside, how do you plan on maximizing the connections that you made here in the weeks to come?
Valtteri: Yeah. So one of the biggest things for me when it comes to conferences is I want to make sure that people that I meet I follow up with everybody and have next steps because it’s great to meet a lot of people, but if you don’t really know what that next step is conversations tend to dwindle away.
So for me right now, the main focus is making sure that all the conversations I’ve had around opportunities for research opportunities for potential partnership sales, all those kinds of things that next week I follow up what are the next steps and really moving those conversations along.
Nate: Absolutely. I love it. Okay. Before coming to Indiana, you said you’ve been here three times. What was Indiana known for in your mind? Basketball. Basketball. Oh, the sports guy. I love it. I love it, man. So if there are people out there, listeners, looking to connect with you all, support you all, become customers of you all, how can they find you and what’s the right individuals you’re looking for?
Valtteri: Yeah, absolutely. You can easily reach out to us two ways. That is the fastest. One of our website. It’s not research dot com. You can request a demo or just reach out. Contact us directly through there. I’m the one who receives all that. So I’m very quick to respond when it comes to those messages.
But the other side is just reaching out to me directly on LinkedIn. My LinkedIn is gonna be my full name, which might be a little hard to account. Right now it’s about the Salomaki V. A. L. T. T. E. R. I. last name Salomaki S. A. L. O. M. A. K. I. Originally from Finland. So that’s where the name comes into play.
But the folks that we really want to be able to talk to are definitely researchers, people that are designing new brands of experiences. And those that are looking at like the cutting edge of what new types of immersive technologies can do. Those are our central bucket of folks that we’re talking to today.
But also it’s always great to be able to talk with sports enthusiasts and other people and have them be able to try our technology and give their two cents of what they would like to see in the future. Cause we’re still in the early stage of building it.
Nate: Who’s your team?
For anything. Your number, your ride or die team?
Valtteri: Ride or die team right now. NFL season about to start with the Chargers. I, most of my life lived in San Diego, so I still call him the San Diego Chargers. They’re not the Los Angeles Chargers to me, but hopefully this year they can make it to playoffs and don’t lose in the first round.
Who wasn’t an LT fan growing up? Exactly. LT is he’s one of those guys and Gates.
Nate: Hey, thank you for coming on. Appreciate it. Best luck with the pitch competition.
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Matt: This has been Get IN, a Powderkeg production in partnership with Elevate Ventures. And we want to hear from you. If you have suggestions for our guest or segment, reach out to Matt or Nate on LinkedIn or on email.
To discover top tier tech companies outside of Silicon Valley in hubs like Indiana, check out our newsletter at powderkeg.com slash newsletter. And to apply for membership to the powderkeg executive community, check out powderkeg.com/premium. We’ll catch you next time and next week as we continue to help the world Get IN.
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