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Meet Valtteri Salomaki of EDGE Sound Research in East LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valtteri Salomaki.

Valtteri, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am an MBA graduate with a concentration in Marketing and Information Systems from the University of California, Riverside (UCR). In the past three years, I have co-founded two startup companies, Free Logic Media LLC and EDGE Sound Research, became the co-owner of two additional companies, J’Bez Barbershop and Stay Baysd, and I am in the process of building a non-profit called the Riverside Studios Entertainment Innovation Incubator with a team of entrepreneurs, which will focus on workforce development in the Inland Empire.

My life story began in Finland where I was born. My family immigrated to the United States when I was very young and we were lucky enough to obtain a Green Card to become permanent citizens. While living in the United States, I have moved over ten times living both on the East and West Coast; however, a majority of my upbringing was in Carlsbad, CA. My entire childhood revolved around sports and I had aspirations of continuing my athletic career in college. Unfortunately, that was cut short due to injuries so I had to learn to channel my competitive nature into another passion of mine: Entrepreneurship.

After high school, I started college at UCR studying Business Administration to pursue my passion in entrepreneurship. I knew I wanted to be a business owner, but I was an ignorant 18 years old who had no idea how to make it become a reality. During my freshman year of college my family was hit hard financially due to unfortunate circumstances which shifted my entire perspective on life. I realized that in order for me to achieve what I wanted in life, I would have to work harder than everyone else and put myself in uncomfortable situations that will accelerate my growth as an entrepreneur.

I decided to gain a better global understanding of business to help me identify market opportunities for startups I could start in the US, so I worked hard to finance studying abroad twice during Undergrad in Hong Kong and Milan. My experiences abroad helped me understand technological and cultural differences impacting international markets, which led me to successfully build my first startup company Free Logic Media LLC.

Free Logic Media is a consulting company focusing on helping more traditional businesses digitize their services with technology integration, website development, digital marketing services, and business strategy. One of our clients is an upcoming Indie Band that happened to be making their first EP at EARS Studio at UCR where I was introduced to a talented audio engineer named Ethan Castro. Little did I know that Ethan and I would soon be working together on a new startup aiming to reinvent the world of audio.

This has led to the past six months of my life being a crazy ride. In November 2019, Ethan and I co-founded EDGE Sound Research after Ethan showed me his invention of a new audio technology that turns sound into vibrations to provide the most realistic audio experience while simultaneously engaging your whole body. Within one month, we were presenting our startup in Las Vegas at CES 2020 and found many collaborators at NAMM (which is CES but for music). We have received support from Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars and the Office of Technology Partnerships at UCR, and they have been mentoring us through a meteoric rise of excitement around our venture and this technology and helped us to obtain a patent-provision.

We are currently applying to multiple grants to speed-track our product development as we aim to pilot our first product by this Summer, participate in an accelerator program this Fall, and begin commercialization in early 2021.

This journey is just starting and I am excited to see where it will lead!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
A startup lifestyle is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride of emotions. The amount of adversity an entrepreneur has to face is the reason why it is a path less traveled. My life journey is a prime example of this as I have failed countless time before my first “success”.

Before I co-founded Free Logic Media LLC, I attempted to create four other startup companies. Each idea failed miserably from a lack of resources to a terrible business model. These failures were a harsh look at reality and it made me question if entrepreneurship was the right path for me. However, I took these failures and used them as learning opportunities to improve my next idea until a legitimate startup was formed.

In addition, another major challenge I have faced was making hard decisions to sacrifice all my time and additional capital to speed up the development of each of my startups. I was a full-time MBA student, a Teaching Assistant for two business classes, a part-time employee at ESRI, and working on my startups at night for an additional 40 hours a week. This added up to 90+ hour work weeks and required me live a minimalist lifestyle by reducing all expenses that were not essential.

This all has taught me that to get where you want in life you have to stay dedicated to your ambitions by putting in hard work and staying patient. Nothing great in life comes easy, so the most important lesson is to not give up!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
EDGE Sound Research is the sonic-experience division of the parent company EDGE Original Inc., focusing on creating immersive systems that redefine how we experience sound and will elevate your entertainment experience to the next level.

Keep up to date at www.edgesoundresearch.com.

Free Logic Media LLC is fueled by a vision of combining new technologies with creative thinking. As a result, we use our digital marketing knowledge to help companies establish their brands and scale their offerings.

Check out https://freelogicmedia.com and our podcast https://brewflm.com

A big vision for both EDGE Sound Research and Free Logic Media LLC is the development of a cross-collaboration projects. Our first collaboration project is Acoustic Haven which is a Southern California based music discovery platform that serves as a launchpad for the next generation of musicians. Our vision is to inspire young artists, showcase unseen talent to help musicians accelerate their careers, provide the tools necessary for success in the music industry, and give back to artist communities to help plant the seed for future talent.

Check out https://acoustichavenofficial.com

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was always a competitive kid in everything I did from sports, video games, and school. My parents taught me at a young age to stay humble and work hard to succeed in anything I set my mind to accomplish. However, my mom used to joke around that I only had two speeds for everything I did: “full-speed sprint or slow-mo.” As I have gotten older I think she was right because I will either work until I get something done, or I will relax and not worry about anything until it becomes urgent.

In addition, my interest growing up were split between sports and technology. I spent most of my childhood on a football, baseball, or soccer field and using the remainder of my time playing around with new technologies. I was always fascinated by what technology was capable of, which led me to become an avid gamer as it was the perfect combination of technology and sports. My parents were not too fond of my interest in gaming; however, all the time I spent playing video games is now paying off as I have a strong understanding of gaming experiences that I will hopefully redefine for millions of gamers around the world with EDGE Sound Research.

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