Sona’s Vision, Challenges, & Looking Ahead with Dennis Hauser banner

Music has long been recognized for its profound meditational benefits. It offers a unique blend of physical, emotional, and mental healing properties. Understanding the potent impact of music on well-being, the Sona app integrates it with its core features. The app leverages music’s therapeutic qualities to deliver an immersive user experience. 

The Sona app is a pioneering solution in the digital health landscape. The app creates personalized playlists and soundscapes to promote relaxation, focus, and mindfulness. Sona stands as a bridge between ancient wisdom and modern technology. It brings the timeless healing power of music to user’s smartphones. The app further enriches your journey towards mental clarity and emotional balance. 

Our exclusive interview with Dennis Hauser, the co- founder at Sona, will help you understand the ambitious vision behind the development of this app. So, let’s head to a journey of innovation and relentless pursuit of improving health and wellness through technology. 

Who is Dennis Hauser?

Dennis Hauser is the co-founder at Sona and Chief of Staff of Celonis. He has a background in investment banking, having worked at Credit Suisse. Dennis holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. He also has a bachelor's degree in Economics and Business administration from Boston University. Dennis Hauser has also worked in top companies like KPMG and JP Morgan.
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1) You have a sound experience with the production of sounds. What is your definition of music, and which music do you tune in to?

Music is something that accompanies us our entire lives, from beginning to end. We bond and connect with music, unlike any other medium. I’m fascinated by how we consume different types of music as it helps us to get out of or into a certain mood. It’s like an organic way to complement or change your state of mind. Therefore, I enjoy the variety of music.

2) Sona is a neuroscience-backed music app that improves sleep and reduces anxiety. How does it work?

Sona’s original music is designed to increase alpha & theta brain waves. This music lowers stress hormones, helping the listener achieve a relaxed state in minutes. Sona personalizes the user’s playlist based on reported symptoms, time of day, and listening habits. Users just need to complete the two-question mental health survey during sign-up to get their ‘listening prescription.’

3) What are alpha waves, and how does your app increase their activity in the brain? What are its benefits?

Alpha brain waves are a frequency pattern of brain activity associated with restful and meditative states. These waves measure between 8 - 12 Hz, indicating that the brain is active but relaxed. When you first wake up in the morning, your brain might produce alpha waves while you’re still in a state of wakeful rest. Similarly, when you’re not focusing too hard on anything in particular, your brain continues to generate these waves.

4) Your science advisory board consists of seasoned veterans in the field of Psychology. How has that helped shape your app and its services?

Our advisors have played an intricate role in bringing the sona vision to life. We worked closely with Dr. Robert Knight at UC Berkeley to design and conduct the EEG testing to measure and validate the medicinal benefits. These relationships allow us to partner with artists to create music that is unique while maximizing medical benefits 

5) Can you share any statistics regarding the impact of the Sona app on facilitating relaxation or other mental healthcare benefits?

We conducted a study with Nielsen Neuroscience to test the efficacy of Sona’s music in reducing stress for 64 participants. The brain activity was measured with EEG before, during, and after participants listened to 10 minutes of music. 

32 participants listened to Sona’s music, and an equivalent control group followed the same protocol, except that they were made to hear folk-pop music. In a questionnaire provided afterward, the respondents reported a 23% reduction in stress levels with Sona’s music.

This experiment also observed a significant increase in alpha activity in the Sona group. The alpha brain activity was significantly increased. Conversely, the control group exhibited higher beta activity. Sona also showed an increase in memory activation, which included increases in theta and gamma band brain oscillations.

6) Given music’s healing capabilities, your app serves as an important medium through which to deliver its benefits. Are there plans to enhance the app with additional benefits further?

Yes, we are introducing new features and customization that will improve the app experience and improve overall user retention.

7) Usually, when someone feels low or anxious, they tune in to their favorite music. How are you raising awareness of your app’s benefits over their go-to music?

Sona primarily focuses on the passive listening experience of music. It implies that listeners don’t seek out particular songs but rather a certain mood or state of mind. Most of today’s popular music focuses on an entertainment use case rather than bringing calmness to your mind.

More importantly, Sona music has a unique sound. The songs are composed using a proprietary formula that stimulates meditative effects for listeners, resulting in full-body relaxation. 

8) You have raised over $1 Million in pre-seed funding for the Sona app. How did the money help you scale your brand?

We have a multi-faceted approach to scaling Sona. We recently started targeting more specific groups, such as parents who use Sona to put their kids to sleep. Sona has become a bedtime ritual for many mothers and their kids. 

While the parents tried other music, the kids specifically requested “water music” (a reference to the background of Sona’s main screen). We are looking to expand further via partnerships with like-minded consumer brands who share the mission of improving lives and health via technology.

9) Are you seeking more funding soon to achieve new milestones? If so, what are they?

We are raising more funds to fuel Sona’s next chapter of innovation. In the coming months, we are rolling out more features in the app, expanding our offerings into sounds and enhanced customization. Additionally, we plan to kick off a clinical trial with the FDA. We will seek approval for Sona to be an even more accessible solution for people to harness the power of music as medicine.

10) Your current venture looks like an ideal product for the modern-age urban humans suffering from high stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep. Is your app also good for rural music listeners? How so?

We have a diverse user base, both urban and rural. Most people prefer to use our app to ensure a sound sleep. From a medical perspective, we see Sona as an enhancing vitamin rather than a pain killer, so it’s appropriate for everyone.

11) In the next 5 years, what is the big transformation you envision for the Sona App?

In the next years, we are excited about bringing the Sona app across more devices and in a variety of mediums. We think Sona will no longer be just about the audio but rather offer a full-fledged visual experience for its users. 

Key Takeaway

  • The Sona app leverages the power of music to promote healing, relaxation, and focus among users. The app has championed digital health solutions and is a powerful tool in the modern world. 
  • Sona uses neuro-science-backed music, which increases alpha and theta brain waves. The music is also proven to reduce stress hormones and uplift the user’s mood within minutes. 
  • Collaboration with top neuroscience experts and the studies connected with Nielsen Neuroscience justifies Sona’s efficiency in relieving stress and anxiety. These studies have also proved the app successful in improving brain activities related to relaxation and memory. 
  • The app is set to improve the user’s experience by adding more useful features and functionalities. 
  • Unlike the traditional music tracks, which are focused on entertainment, Sona offers a passive listening experience to promote wellness and mindfulness. 
  • With over $1 million in pre-funding, Sona is expanding its reach to more users. The app is now targeting specific user groups and establishing partnerships with similar consumer brands. 
  • The Sona app is also ready to seek FDA approval and wellness accessible to all.
  • Sona is equally useful for the urban and rural population. It is an essential ‘vitamin’ for the mind that fosters sound sleep and reduces stress. 
  • Over the next 5 years, Sona aims to expand its operations across multiple devices and mediums. It will evolve to offer an enriched visual and auditory wellness experience. 

Follow Dennis Hauser’s inspiring journey and connect with him on LinkedIn. Further, read our exclusive interviews with the champions of the tech world and the mobile industry at MobileAppDailyInterviews. To stay updated with the current happenings and insightful interviews, subscribe to MobileAppDaily.


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