Florian Simmendinger, CEO & Co-Founder of Soundbrenner

Florian enjoys geeking out over electronics. His first business has seen him on the Forbes 30 under 30 in Asia!
What’s your story?
I was born in a rural village in South Germany where roughly 600 people live. Everyone knows everyone. I lived there for 20 years and never left this place, mostly playing video games all day long. In my early twenties I realized everything I knew about life is limited to this village and there must be more to it. To achieve something great one day I had to leave my village first. So I did and from one day to the other I began studying in one of Mexico’s largest and most dangerous cities: Monterrey. It blew my mind and was an incredible experience. Less than a year later I was on my way to start an internship in Shanghai. Shortly after I wrote a book advising and counselling students to go abroad. After that I volunteered in a rural orphanage close to Beijing for 6 months where no soul spoke any English. I mostly helped them fundraising in their management office. Eventually I settled down in Hong Kong and started my own electronics development company. It seems random, but somehow the dots connected and it all made sense. Our company builds the world’s first smart wearable smart vibrating metronome for musicians. I play piano myself. We launched a successful crowdfunding campaign with over $250,000 USD in sales and recently shipped all pre-orders. We also won multiple awards and as a result I was recently listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 in Asia. Right now we are raising $1.2 million USD and preparing for an international launch of our product in the United States, Europe, China, Japan and several other countries.

What excites you most about your industry?
I LOVE electronics and could geek out hours over design decisions other companies made. That I get to design my own electronics now is the greatest job I can imagine. The special thing about hardware is that unlike software it’s actually manufactured in the real world and you can hold it in your own hands. It’s a great feeling.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Originally it was my interest in getting exposure to something new and foreign. Today it’s my company that is based in Hong Kong.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I love Hong Kong where I’m based. According to the Fraser Institute it’s the most economically free market in the world. Besides the high amount of freedom it’s also a great place to live thanks to it’s diversity in landscapes and people.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If something can be destroyed by the truth it should be. Always be brutally honest, especially with yourself.

Who inspires you?
Richard Feynman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are some exceptional people that I admire

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
In the last quarter Apple manufactured and sold on average 830,000 iPhones every single day.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Start programming when I was a teenager and had more time. No excuse that it’s too late now though, I plan to eventually pick it up…

How do you unwind?
I like working out. I also like European saunas, which are way different than what you usually find abroad. In Germany we have giant facilities with up to 15 different saunas. Nothing better than spending an entire day there relaxing.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I recently visited Hakone in Japan. It has some of the world’s best hot springs as well as beautiful landscapes.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Fountainhead

Shameless plug for your business:
Soundbrenner – we aspire to touch the life of every single musician on the planet by building a revolutionary platform to master rhythm. The starting point is a wearable smart vibrating metronome that allows musicians to actually feel the beat they want to play. The wearable metronome is seamlessly integrated in various mobile and desktop apps that allow it to create any rhythm in the world and much more.

How can people connect with you?
Twitter! @simmenfl

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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