Twin brothers Ben and Jonathan Finn are shaking up the dusty world of sheet music publishing. They have developed a 'killer app' software, which does for written music what the word processor did for letters.
With a PC and the Sibelius software, music played on an electronic keyboard can be transposed on to written staves, thus saving laborious copying by hand. The 31-year-old brothers have always loved music, and sang as children in King's College choir, Cambridge. Their fascination with technology developed at this time as they pored over BBC Micros and started to compose their first pieces of music electronically.
Ben is the business brains, while Jonathan heads the programming team.
With a few hundred pounds and a mail shot, they launched Sibelius in 1993.
'Everyone who saw a demo bought it,' despite its hefty pounds 599 price tag,' says Ben. Since then, they have sold 'tens of thousands of copies' and the business has grown organically with new versions for Mac and PC in 34 countries.
The Finns' ambition knows few bounds. With pounds 1.4 million of venture capital backing, they now plan to go online. The software will allow composers to post their compositions on a web page, which can then be downloaded by publishers and potential users. 'By the end of the year, we aim to be the industry standard for sheet music on the net,' says Ben