ROLI, best known for its MPE controllers such as Seaboard and Blocks, has filed for bankruptcy. The company will be relaunched as a new entity, Luminary, which will place more emphasis on its beginner-friendly LUMI keyboard.
The London-based music startup, which was backed by Pharrell and Grimes, was in financial trouble: it reported pre-tax losses of £ 34.1million on income of £ 11.4million over the past 18 month preceding the end of June 2019.
Roland Lamb, Founder and CEO of ROLI, said Business intern that its financial problems were largely due to the company’s targeting of a niche market as well as operational difficulties during the pandemic.
“At the end of the day what happened was the pro-focused products that we initially developed, although they were successful in their market, the market was not big enough given our trajectory. corporate, ”Lamb said. Initiated. “We had our eyes on hypergrowth and it turned out to be difficult.”
The new company, Luminary, will move away from innovative controllers for the pros. Instead, it will focus on the LUMI keyboard and app, which teach beginners to read and play music.
The LUMI keyboard retails for $ 299, with an annual subscription of $ 79 for additional songs and lessons. In our review, we said it was “probably as close as possible to piano lessons without a tutor in person”.
Luminary will also not be producing the ROLI Seaboard at this time, but it plans to reintroduce the spongy controller in the future.
70 ROLI employees will move to the new company, which has already raised £ 5million in seed funding.
ROLI issued a statement to MusicTech who said, “We are extremely excited to work with Hoxton Ventures to advance the future of ROLI and LUMI instruments. This restructuring provides a unique opportunity for our team to continue their mission of making learning piano fun with our LUMI keyboard and subscription, in addition to meeting popular demand by bringing the award-winning Seaboard back in 2022 and continuing to grow our ecosystem. pro software. “