Cool New Woman-Run Business of the Week: LessonFace
3:00 pm, February 16th | by Colette McIntyre
If you know anything about us — which we’re hoping you do — you know that we’re suckers for young female entrepreneurs: we pick their brains, we champion their startups, we collect them into galleries where we brag about their successes like mothers at a PTA meeting. This week we’ve found a new cool businesswoman to add to our vision board: Claire Cunningham, CEO of LessonFace.
Cunningham’s idea for a platform that offers online music lessons was inspired by a family friend who’s a musician; as she told MediaPost, “When he puts a record out, it’s number two in Italy but he still has to keep his day job in Baltimore.” After learning that many of her friend’s fans were requesting Skype lessons from him, Cunningham thought to create a better way for entrepreneurial musicians/music educators and willing students who desire quality lessons to link up.
Thus, LessonFace was born. The business offers live, one-on-one music lessons for over eighty-five different instruments or musical skills like improvisation, mixing and mastering. LessonFace’s instructors are highly qualified: one has performed with Yo Yo Ma, another toured with Barbra Streisand. Lessons happen directly through a computer or a tablet; all a student needs is a webcam and an internet connection. “We’ve concentrated on making the live audio and visual experience of the lessons as great as can be,” said Cunningham. “These elements are crucial for experiencing and learning music.”
Cunningham launched her Brooklyn-based business with initial financing and her own savings. But this isn’t Cunningham’s first time at the rodeo: after graduating from the College of Charleston, the South Carolina native launched a youth hostel, started a publishing company with a specialization in out-of-print literature, and devised a few educational apps. Clearly Cunningham is a woman to watch.