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Freedom and focus on the stage
A need for more freedom and better focus on performing guitarists ignited Michael's entrepreneurial journey.
Michael Engel rocks both the guitar and the entrepreneurial scene. With his product ‘Noatronic Onboard Expression’, Michael is challenging the way guitarist’s change the sound on amps and effect pedals while performing. Traditionally guitarists control the sound using their feet, but as this hinders their freedom to move, Michael has developed a system that brings control to the guitar itself, all while keeping the guitar’s aesthetics and construction intact. By means of this, Noatronic Onboard Expression provides more freedom and better focus on stage, which according to Michael are crucial components in any live music performance. A need he experienced himself almost ten years ago when he performed at a local venue in Tønder, Denmark.
From Briefcase to Backpack
That experience ignited the idea behind his entrepreneurial journey, but many years would pass before it became a reality. First Michael went through business school, a financial leadership education and a full-time job as a business advisor in one of the largest banks in Denmark. Despite a self-assured professional career in the bank, Michael found himself inert and yearning for a more creative and product-oriented perspective in his work. With a growing desire to act on his vision of more free and flexible guitar performance, he made the decision to quit his job and replace the fixed salary with a student grant and the briefcase with a backpack.
Michael got accepted to Aarhus University School of Engineering where he is currently finalizing his last semester as an Electronics Engineer. A study that not only fits his interests but also has become a central part in his development of the Noatronic Onboard Expression system. Through his studies, Michael was offered a unique opportunity to combine his flair for technology with his passion for product development. He emphasizes that his choice of becoming an Electronics Engineer went hand in hand with his entrepreneurial dream, however, that he is grateful for the experience and knowledge gained from his time at the bank. "I have gained a detailed understanding of how to do business and importantly, how to handle the financial concerns that exist when starting up a new business,” Michael explains.
Far from sandy beaches
Only one semester was necessary for Michael to feel sufficiently confident and equipped to bring the idea behind Noatronic Onboard Expression one step further towards reality. He explains how that first summer vacation was nothing like sandy beaches or fun in the sun, “While my friends were outside enjoying the weather, I worked on the product while reading forward in the literature and experimenting with electronics and embedded software to understand how I could make this thing”. When Michael returned to school after ten weeks of hard work, his first prototype was ready. The long summer behind the computer and soldering station made Michael realize the importance of personal drive when it comes to entrepreneurship, he explains while pointing to his passion for electronics, music and the finalized product as reasons why he personally felt motivated.
”It’s almost like playing with LEGO”
Michael uses LEGO bricks as an analogy to explain the development process behind his product. He described a process in which he created building blocks of hardware and software that he composed, developed, tested and integrated into the finished product that then became a reality. When the talented engineer started his fifth semester, Noatronic joined the Startup Factory in Aarhus – an organization with the purpose of supporting aspiring start-ups related to the School of Engineering. Here, students are offered an office-space, mentoring dialogues and community activities to collectively enhance the chances for success.
A collaboration with potential
Many guitarists around the world have already received Noatronic Onboard Expression with open arms. Through his webshop, he accommodates his customers worldwide. Teaming up with Metalwo allowed Michael to upscale his production in terms of volume and automatize a number of processes, which ensures the high quality and gives Michael more time for other business activities such as marketing and product development. The young entrepreneur has more ideas on the drawing board for Noatronic, and he aims to be able to devote more attention to these in the future. For ongoing development, it is crucial for Michael to engage with his users, learn from their experiences and listen to their feedback.
The collaboration between Metalwo and Noatronic was established when Metalwo was visiting Startup Factory. Michael says he is particularly thrilled by the compassion he met in Nikolaj Berg and Jacob Fenger, project leader at Metalwo. In fact, Michael admits that he felt humble about utilizing Metalwo's resources, as the production is still at a relatively small volume. Nikolaj Berg emphasizes that he believes in the potential of Noatronic and that he, himself, is responsible for communicating the expectations of the collaboration and reevaluate if needed.
At Metalwo, we are excited about the collaboration and we look forward to following Noatronic and Michael in the future.
You can learn more about Noatronic here: https://www.noatronic.com