First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Karyn Scott: We are doing great. Although these are challenging times, it has brought our family closer together as our children are home learning online. I miss the camaraderie of the Austin startup community, and it is challenging having to work remotely. We are an online company, so we are able to keep things running smoothly.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Care2Rock.
Karyn Scott: As a former juvenile Assistant District Attorney, I saw many youths in foster care stuck in the juvenile justice system without access to opportunities. As a result, I began placing youth in care with volunteer music teachers. While running the volunteer program, I had many customers seeking my advice on finding great music teachers. Customers struggle to find an easy, affordable way to learn music. Parents don’t like the hassle of driving children to lessons, and millennials who want to pick up musical hobbies are frustrated with learning on YouTube.
In addition, customers don’t know what beginner instruments to buy, or where to find vetted teachers. Finally, schools are cutting music programs, and those who are disenfranchised from the arts – such as the disabled or foster children – have no access to music learning. Care2Rock combines all these things on an online platform where the best teachers can reach customers anywhere, anytime, for live online music lessons. I started Care2Rock to connect these resources through technology: social impact (helping youth in care get free music lessons), technology, and music. We are a social mission-driven company that is a one-stop-shop for learning music, where customers can get instruments and lessons and get started online within a week.
How does Care2Rock innovate?
Karyn Scott: Our platform and workflows are customs built for learning music. We incorporated features into our sites, such as custom-designed screen views and a built-in tuner. We also are the only top to bottom music solution where we can send you an instrument and teach you how to play it for an affordable price. Most importantly, we innovate by encouraging our teachers to volunteer for free for the youth in foster care on our platform. By learning with Care2Rock, you help get free lessons to youth in foster care across the country.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Karyn Scott: We lost our core full-time customer service representative back in March as she had to return to her home country due to COVID. This was a huge loss, but it helped us pivot. Before COVID, we were a primarily B2C company; post-COVID, we have pivoted to providing lessons to schools and companies. For schools, we are the right solution for those who have lost access to music programs, as many lessons are online now. For companies, our Tunes4Teams initiative provides a unique way for teambuilding and bringing employees together through music, as online happy hours are getting stale and in-person events are no longer possible.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Karyn Scott: Yes, I learned that persistence is key in keeping small startups alive during tough times.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Care2Rock in the future?
Karyn Scott: Walking in the woods is always helpful! I also believe that where one door shuts, another door opens. COVID has helped me appreciate the value of my company in a whole new light.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Karyn Scott: We have even more competitors than before because now most music lessons are online. We stay in the game by having automated booking flows, reminders, and custom-built solutions for learning music. Taking a lesson on Zoom will not be nearly as effective as taking a lesson with Care2Rock.
Your final thoughts
Karyn Scott: Launching a startup is not for the faint of heart. You have to have a strong vision to keep things going when things get hard. But sometimes, it will help you focus on the core value of your company.
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