Tag Archives: Jonny May

CSUF Business Plan Competition Winner Profile: Piano With Jonny

Yannick Lambrecht and Jonny May at CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals

Yannick Lambrecht (left) and Jonny May (right) at the CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship

As you know from reading the recap of the CSUF Business Plan Competition hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship the first place winner of the compeitition was Piano With Jonny. Presented by Cal State Fullerton students Jonny May, Reuben Ponce De Leon, and Sylvia Dang along with co-founder Yannick Lambrecht, Piano With Jonny is well on its way to shaking up the music education industry by using technology to help thousands of people learn how to become better pianists from an accomplished piano player: Jonny May.

“I’m thrilled to have won the Business Plan Competition!  It was awesome, scary, and exhilarating at the same time! …Going into to it, I really didn’t know if I would win.  I had some amazing competitors with great ideas and strong execution strategies…I highly recommend the CSUF Business Plan Competition to any student with a business idea!” states Jonny.

Piano With Jonny is a web-based business that sells digital piano educational content that enables students to learn music online without the hassle of having to travel or pay hourly fees. On the website, students follow along on the recorded video as Jonny explains and demonstrates a particular genre ranging from blues to jazz to rock to many other genres. In other words, this isn’t your prototypical piano teacher.

The website also offers lessons from learning how to play a particular song to learning one particular technique at a time. The site also offers sheet music through SoundSlice.

Piano With Jonny earns business in two ways: 1. Through individual product sales and 2. Through membership dues. These useful products include in-depth video tutorials with an easy to see overhead display of Jonny playing the piano as the keys light up, as well as interactive sheet music for customers to play along with as fast or slow as they like.

Launched in September 2015, the membership program on Piano With Jonny gives users full access to all products online for only $40 a month (the monthly charge goes down if you prepay), as well as interactive assistance on the exclusive member Facebook page.

Much of Jonny’s audience has been derived from his YouTube channel, with over 15 million views and over 100,000 subscribers. Here’s a recent video he posted to celebrate his 100,000 YouTube subscribers.

What’s different about Piano With Jonny in comparison to other online tutorial services is that it focuses on teaching the piano to intermediate level piano players and not the beginner level, like most online services target. Additionally, the website specifically targets teen and adult piano players that want to learn non-classical styles. These are people who are dedicated to honing their craft as piano players.

Jonny expects his company to be an $8M company by 2020 and his current goal is to reach about 10,000 subscribers.

Written by Traci Muldoon


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

CSUF Student Places in Top 5 of National Entrepreneurship Competition

Jonny May, furthest on the right, finished in the Top 5 of a competition that included hundreds of other student-entrepreneurs across the nation.

Jonny May, furthest on the right, finished in the Top 5 of a competition that included hundreds of other student-entrepreneurs across the nation.

CSUF Entrepreneurship student, CSUF Startup Incubator Resident, and founder of Piano with Jonny, Jonny May recently finished very well in a national competition for student-entrepreneurs hosted by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). Out of the hundreds of students who entered nationally, Jonny finished in the Top 5!

Here are some of Jonny’s thoughts on competing:

GSEA was a blast!  We flew to Kansas City, Missouri, and I got to meet all kinds of amazing entrepreneurs that are still in college.  It was very empowering to tell my story and I gained a new sense of confidence that my business Piano With Jonny is making a meaningful impact in the world.  The GSEA judges are all successful entrepreneurs themselves, and I made some great contacts that I believe will help me as I grow Piano With Jonny.  I highly recommend GSEA for any college student with a business!

We competed in two rounds: a semi-final and final round.  We had 12 minutes to talk about our business and ourselves.  7 out of the 10 judging criteria were based on us as individuals (our character, work ethic, integrity, why we started our businesses, etc), and 3 of the criteria were about the business itself.  The first panel was 8 judges, and the second panel was 16 judges.  After each presentation, we were questioned for 10 minutes.  The competition is hosted by EO (Entrepreneurship Organization).  I was invited to compete by Craig Martin, who was my mentor for MGMT 465A and also an EO Member.  As an EO Accelerator, I’m hoping to join EO (members must have a business doing $1 million or more in revenue).

Congratulations Jonny!


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Happy Holidays from CSUF Entrepreneurship

CSUF Startup Incubator staff with MBA consulting team

CSUF Startup Incubator staff with MBA consulting team

This is the last CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider of 2016 and we want to thank everyone who contributed to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community! Without all of you we could not have accomplished nearly as much as we did.

2016 is winding down and we sincerely hope that you are finding some time to spend with family and friends.

I know that this is a busy time of year for everyone but I wanted to take some time to highlight a couple of recent activities at CSUF Entrepreneurship.

First off, we have accepted our 21st Resident at the CSUF Startup Incubator: a current CSUF student majoring in Entrepreneurship, Jonny May. Jonny is an exceptional student and budding entrepreneur and you can learn more about him and our entrepreneurship classes by reading this article.

As part of a university, our primary mandate is to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs but our efforts do not stop with students like Jonny. Every year, we host dozens of seminars aimed at helping the broader CSUF Entrepreneurship community and we publish videos of many of these talks. One recent talk that I think will resonate well with everyone who is thinking about starting a business was given by serial entrepreneur and author Damon Brown, titled: Why You Can And Should Start Your Side Hustle Immediately. Clicking on the link in the previous sentence will take you to the video of his talk and I hope that it inspires you to start something innovative in 2017.

All of our events can be found by going to our Eventbrite page and they include talks by entrepreneurs and subject matter experts in a wide range of fields as well as office hours hosted by mentors from our program and staff. This week, Entrepreneur in Residence Travis Lindsay will be hosting office hours from 3pm to 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday at our CSUF Startup Incubator office in Placentia to help with any startup or business related questions attendees have. (No promises, but I might also be at his office hours on Wednesday.)

For members of our community that already have businesses we have the CSUF Consulting program. Every semester the CSUF Consulting program works hand in hand with businesses large and small to identify powerful new opportunities that they would have otherwise missed out on. One shining example of this is the work we did with Hilton Hotels to help them identify substantial cost savings by doing a deep dive into their operations.

No matter how you contribute to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community I just want to say Thank You. None of this would be possible without the contributions of thousands of individuals like yourself.


John Bradley Jackson
Director, CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship
& CSUF Startup Incubator

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CSUF Entrepreneurship Students Create Business Plan, Present to Investor Panel

piano-with-jonnyThe panel is awesome – I love that as students, we have the chance to present real ideas to real business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and bankers.  Few other classes offer the practical feedback and hands-on work that I have experienced in Management 465A.  It is one of the best Entrepreneurship classes, and I highly recommend it to other students.

Those are some of the thoughts from Jonny May, the creator of Piano with Jonny and one of our CSUF Entrepreneurship students who had the opportunity to give a fifteen minute presentation to a panel of experts on the progress they have made in launching their businesses followed by fifteen minutes of hard hitting questions from those same experts. As you can guess, this is a pressure packed experience but it is also a unique opportunity to get feedback from a diverse group of experts.

But let me take a step back since these panels are the culmination of a semester’s worth of work on the part of CSUF Entrepreneurship students.

At the beginning of every semester, students in Management 465A and 465B coalesce into teams with the mission of either creating a business plan for a concept (465A) or work on launching a business (465B). In Jonny’s case, he is a student in Management 465A and he led his team in the creation of a business plan for his concept: Piano with Jonny. (And, to be perfectly honest, Jonny’s team had a bit of a head start since Jonny has been working on this business for a couple of years now and is already in revenue. But, as you will see, Jonny has leveraged his experience in this class to crystallize his business’ strategy and develop a plan to make his business stronger and well positioned for growth.)

If I could show you a montage right now, I would, because in between the formation of the teams at the beginning of the semester and the panels at the end there is a lot of hard work that largely goes uncelebrated. It is during the semester that the teams work on developing their marketing strategy, interviewing customers to unearth key insights into their thinking, put together an operations plan with a budget, and do all of the other work that is necessary to craft a meaningful business plan that can be used to launch or grow a business and maybe even using the plan when in discussions with potential investors.

And it is this hard work that helps students get to the heart of the matter for their businesses. From Jonny: “The class has forced me to think more deeply about why our customers buy and where to put more of our efforts.  Through customer interviews and competitive analysis, it is now much more clear where we are not being effective and where we can add huge value for our customers.”

The panels that we have already talked about a little are the culmination of all this hard work. Over the course of the three months that make up a semester, many students, including Jonny, dedicate 100+ hours to the completion of their project whether that is the creation of a business plan or work on launching a business. In Jonny’s case, it was a little of both.

The panels are no small matter. As Jonny said at the beginning of this article, we make sure to pick some heavy hitters to be judges. At the most basic level, these panels represent a crucial academic event for our students; having the opportunity to present such a complex and important project is nerve racking for the students but they pretty much always rise to the occasion.

Jack Mixner, one of our professors teaching this class, puts it this way: “Preparing to present to real investors is challenging, daunting – and  exciting. The preparation pays off. Presentations evolve quickly into unexpectedly high level conversations between ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘investors.’ Students share. They learn. And the investors? They share, too, with sometimes very unexpected and useful points of view that the students, their mentors – and their professors – had not expected. Everybody wins.”

But for students like Jonny who are leveraging this unique academic experience to create something real and hopefully long lasting the panels can represent a crucial turning point in the success of their ventures.

“[The panel] was very helpful – I had to learn how to sell my business and ‘take the heat’ from experts.  I knew they would ask hard questions, so I really had to become familiar with my business in a way I never have.  I learned that we have a highly scaleable business and that we should be charging more for our products,” said Jonny.

We are obviously very proud of the work that Jonny and his team, which includes fellow CSUF Entrepreneurship students Sylvia Dang, Johnny Pen, and Reuben Ponce De Leon and mentor Craig Martyn have done. And the same is true for all of our other teams in these classes. Most will not end in successfully launched business but the experience of trying is invaluable and will certainly help them in all their future endeavors.

And in Jonny’s case, we are looking forward to not only working with him as a student but also as a Resident at the CSUF Startup Incubator. Jonny was accepted into the Incubator just a few days ago because we see a great deal of potential in his business and we believe he’s the kind of entrepreneur that has the capability and drive to make his startup into a sustainable business. We will be working closely with him in the classroom and at the Incubator over the next six months and by the end of that time we believe Jonny will be well on his way towards taking Piano with Jonny to the next level.

Stay tuned!

#CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

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For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents