Popgun Challenge Finalist 2017

May 25, 2017
Article

Popgun QUT bluebox Innovation Challenge Finalist 2017

What if you could jam with your computer and create original music? That may be just what you can do with Popgun. The Popgun team are using Deep Learning (AI) to create an exciting new musical experience for musicians worldwide.

Q&A with two of Popgun’s founders Adam Hibble and Jack Nolan

Who is Popgun?

Popgun is made up of a team of people including Stephen Phillips, who previously had a startup We are Hunted which was acquired by Twitter, Adam Hibble a Computer Science QUT alumnus and founder of the CODE Network, and Jack Nolan a QUT Law and Business (finance) student.

It was while Stephen was at Twitter that he started looking at the emerging trends in the industry. He started looking at Deep Learning  which is Adam's area of expertise. Adam and Stephen met up late last year in Brisbane and started working on using artificial intelligence (AI) in music to discover and uncover information such as which songs were going to be popular, classify music, create new music or create new sounds.

“When I met Stephen I was running a Deep Learning services company. Organisations would come to us and with a problem they couldn't solve in-house; After working with Stephen, I got hooked on music and audio problems, so we decided to go into business together,” Adam explains.

Jack then joined the team to help with business development during their time at the Techstars Music Accelerator.

What is Popgun?

“We're building the world's best musical. Artificial intelligence. So essentially trying to create technology which will power the next generation of smart instruments and creation software,” Jack explains.

Popgun is innovative in building an AI that can play music with users, just like a professional musician, and has the potential to become an essential learning and creative tool for musicians worldwide.

Biggest challenge with starting up Popgun?

As an exciting new startup and innovation, the greatest challenge for Popgun in the beginning was the endless possibilities that exists in music with AI.
“There are so many things that AI can be applied to in music, so deciding which problem to focus on first in terms of a product for users. So for example, a musical playing experience or an analytics tool or plug-in for an audio workstation,” Jack said.

They are now focussed on playing experience, which is sure to be a hit for Popgun.

Greatest success to date

As for the greatest success, being a young team both Jack and Adam agree it is being able to compete and be on par with teams from all over the world.

“Making it thought the Techstars program and then at the end demonstrating the AI playing experience we built,” Jack said on the Techstars experience.

Adam adds, “One of the things I’m proudest of is we were one of the first public demonstrations of poplyphonic piano player in response, so being able to cut it with people like Google Magenta’s team and Deep Minds, and yet we are a bunch of hackers from Brisbane!”

Speaking about influential entrepreneurs

Speaking about influential entrepreneurs both jack and Adam have range from local to international well-known names. It is clear for Jack and Adam the best entrepreneurs are creating real innovation above all else.

Adam talks about a fellow Deep Learning team that had grown and developed with their work being very interesting the field, as well as Elon Musk who is changing the way humans travel.

“The guys from Tanda are a really strong team,” Jack also mentions, “Of course globally there are the well know ones like Elon Musk, and Brian Chesky (Airbnb)… and Evan Spiegel (Snapchat) because he turned down a billion dollar acquisition when he was 23,”  they both laugh “It was a baller move!” Jack jokes.

The crowd vote for the QUT bluebox Challenge is now OPEN! Vote for Popgun here!

Find out more popgun.ai

On the QUT bluebox challenge

“I saw Tanda from a previous cohort and saw it really helped them,” Adam explains, “It’s good to see QUT doing this stuff.”

Jack also adds, “It’s been great meeting the other teams.”

If they won the guys both agree “It would be great recognition from the work we are doing and the progress we are making in this space,” Jack said.

As far as advice for any future applicants, Adam has a tip and words of encouragement

“Build something cool and apply!” he said.

For more information

Contact:

Email: enquiries@qutbluebox.com.au

Phone: +61 7 3138 9420