Janne Kyllönen

Janne and his product are taking the sleep-tech world by storm. Their sleep-improving headphones are used by tens of thousands of people worldwide & Janne gives us a deep dive into the efficacy of noise-masking technologies on sleep performance.


Founder of the world's greatest sleep headphones

November 29, 2021
Janne Kyllönen

Founder of the world's greatest sleep headphones

Janne gives us a deep dive into the efficacy of noise-masking technologies on sleep performance.

Thought to be an ideal solution to drown out ambient noise that impedes sleep, new studies are now indicating that while noise-masking may help you fall asleep, it can actually be detrimental to one’s overall sleep performance – in particular slow-wave (deep) and REM sleep cycles.

This is significant given that noise-masking – white noise, brown noise, or soundscapes – are some of the most common tools used by people to improve sleep. In fact, there are over 250 white noise apps on the Google Play store – that actually may be doing more harm than good.

Janne speaks in detail on topics such as: the epidemic of noise-induced sleeplessness and its impact on societies ($900B/ year in lost productivity); emerging science concerning the efficacy of white noise; a comparison of white noise vs. active noise cancelling tech; and more.


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Episode Transcript

Cory McKane  0:00  
Okay, awesome. Well, sweets on alkalis explain how everything works. So maybe I'll like a series of questions. I would love to know more about the product, everything works and kind of like dive into your company and your history and all that fun stuff. And then we can kind of just go from there. Okay, let's do that. Sounds awesome. Do you want to start by giving the audience a quick intro about yourself?

Janne Kyllöen  0:22  
Yes, I'm Nick. Gulen and founder of quiet own.

Cory McKane  0:27  
Alright, awesome. And it's actually a great, great way to do this. I just posted on my Instagram and Twitter and got like at least 100 replies asking about advice for sleeping. Because I have trouble sleeping I for since I was a kid, I just like two hours at night, one hour at night just laying in bed last night, I went to bed at 11 and Libyan midnight and then I fell asleep at about 140. So it's always been a problem for me. So can you tell me what quiet on does? And like how it can help someone like myself?

Janne Kyllöen  1:00  
Yeah, so quiet down is Active Noise Cancelling airports designed for sleeping. So reducing noise really efficiently, especially those kind of snoring noise and low bandwidth noises which goes through the walls, which are typically making difficult to sleep.

Cory McKane  1:19  
What's the difference between these and like, like Beats by Dre like the headphones?

Janne Kyllöen  1:24  
Yeah, that they are active noise cancelling devices, typically this headphone size. Which restart the same thing, though. So generating that active noise cancelling. But our device is so small that it really fits in your ear. You can sleep even the Side Sleeper can sleep head on pillow.

Cory McKane  1:43  
Oh, okay, awesome. Is there any AI? Is there any words of it like going in your ear? I mean, obviously, you guys thought about that. So you have like some sort of like, extra part there that like stops that right?

Janne Kyllöen  1:55  
Yeah, of course, it's really important that you can sleep naturally and comfortable that you can have the head head on pillow that there's no limitation on that. And of course, the battery lifetime needs to be we have 20 hours. So even the longest sleep is what's up.

Cory McKane  2:11  
That's awesome. Because yeah, I've uh, I passed that with air pods before and it's like, I'm a side sleeper. So it's really uncomfortable to try and like make that work. I feel like I have to like cut a hole in my pillow to get my, my ear to like, situate there perfectly. With so so why did you want to create this product in the first place? I was like, Why did you because you're the you're the founder, right?

Janne Kyllöen  2:33  
Yes, yes, I can tell a little bit story behind this. It started already, like 2010 or so I was still working in Nokia that time. So we're working with them to make the better mobile phones, I was leading innovation team there. And I was once in Beijing airport. And you know, after a long, hard week, I was really exhausted. And in this electronic store, one of my colleagues was saying that I should try those noise cancelling headphones. And I bought them on my ears and switch it on. And it felt so good. Feeling this silent wobble in the middle of the crowded airport, it was fantastic. I just stayed there for like 10 minutes. And then after the call out from the shop, I didn't buy the device, it was a bit too big and clumsy. And, of course, quite expensive also, but but there's something left with to my mind that it was really great experience this noise cancelling where you need it most. And then like, five years later, when the mobile phone development was ended, and I was thinking about my next thing to do, I decided that I will I will establish a company and make the product which would be giving like a great user experience. And I was remembering this feeling and went to my old colleague and asked that, would it be possible to make this Active Noise Cancelling and so small size that you would even use it for sleeping? And this mapping is my friend was saying that? I don't know. But let's try. And that is what we did. We went to the garage and started building the prototypes. And you know, after half a year or so we got the really good prototypes or the full performance prototypes and started testing with the people and everybody was saying that this is excellent idea and we should go ahead and there we started actually first started the selling days and Indiegogo in 16 Yeah, I trust like overnight success there.

Cory McKane  4:39  
Well, that's funny. I actually did Indiegogo in 2017 I did not have any success so congrats to you for for doing better than I did on Indiegogo. That's awesome.

Yeah. How about this? Did you tell? Oh,

we're not gonna talk about it. It was it was uh, yeah, that was a huge flop that didn't work out. Um, Alright, so, I noticed you have version one two and three is version one your garage version or is there is that like an earlier version before that?

Janne Kyllöen  5:07  
Yeah, the first version was actually that we made it like a real product and it was a feedback active noise canceling technology, it was really good performance in the in the low frequencies but not not so good in the, I would say mid frequencies for like a snoring noise, but really good for travelers and we have been selling that successfully in the in flight sales in airlines, for example. Then we continued from there, the second generation was designed already for the asleep use case. And there we have two modes. So if you press the button, you will have this here through mode. So you can discuss with with people and then if you press it off, then you have the Active Noise Cancelling on again. So it's good for example, open plan offices and for the travelers to of course, if you want to communicate,

Cory McKane  6:01  
so it's like a it's like a mute not mute kind of button.

Janne Kyllöen  6:05  
Yeah, so it's it's here through so the microphone which is already located outside the device that will hear the noise and it's almost like nothing

Cory McKane  6:15  
Oh, so it's still it's still soundproof. It's just like there's a microphone that takes it and then puts it into your ear. Gotcha. Okay.

Janne Kyllöen  6:22  
Yes, yes because it is the block and actually it works also as a hearing protector device in the both mode because if you have the loud noise to microphones, which which often it protects your hearing so that's why it's the best opportunities in the hearing production market. We are going to that do that also, but then this third generation product which is launched or we just have delivered like first 6000 devices also and we are selling those now that is I'd say ultimately device it's much smaller than the second generation device it doesn't have the those two modes it's on the one mode it's only active mostly and canceling on when you take it from the from the case but if you have no buttons needed just put it in your urine start sleeping

Cory McKane  7:12  
that's amazing like i said i literally this like yesterday and the day before I was posting about how irritated I was that I can't fall asleep and like melatonin doesn't work for me all this stuff so maybe version three of quiet ons my next My next journey on this so definitely excited to check it out. So what um Did you did you have like trouble sleeping yourself growing up or like in your life or would you just wanted to create a better product in this market? I think that I have

Janne Kyllöen  7:39  
been always quite good sleeper for I don't know what what is the reason is it that I'm not stressing that much even though I have had demanding jobs? But um, yeah, I think that this of course that the sleep hygiene itself that you have the right type of temperature and good ergonomic, I mean pillow and blankets and you have dark rooms and you have silence. If those are in place, then it's a good start. You know, I'm from Finland, we have midnight sun. So for us in the summertime, you need to have good curtains

Cory McKane  8:15  
for you. But there's a the sun goes up at midnight.

Janne Kyllöen  8:19  
Yes, yes, we are in the northern Finland that it's like almost not coming down at all. No words.

Cory McKane  8:24  
That is crazy. Wait, so how many days? How many hours a day or is there sun?

Janne Kyllöen  8:31  
Yeah, I think that it's in the mid summer. It's in all area above just a one hour sort of sun goes down. But even that time it's not talk. It's sort of blue, you know, different. So we are really close to this Arctic sugar.

Cory McKane  8:47  
Oh, wow. That's That's crazy. Okay, good to know. Yeah. I mean, I've I've never been there. Maybe I'll add it to my bucket list. So you're so you're born and raised in Finland?

Janne Kyllöen  8:55  
Yes. Yes. So I'm from from the Eastern Finland. And quite a way for this, you know, sleeping tricks or tips. Also, we have sauna in almost all of our finished houses. So I have sunlight in every evening. And

Cory McKane  9:11  
you do a sauna? Yes. Yes. I love saunas. Yeah.

Janne Kyllöen  9:16  
Yeah, and your body temperature goes up in in a sauna. And after the sauna. When you're cooling down and reading the book or something like 45 minutes and not having that much clothes on. Your body temperature actually goes downer than the normal level, because it's probably sort of overcompensates a bit of this heat and that makes you really sleepy. So in that moment, when you put this pipe ons in your ear and switch off the lights, you will get sleep immediately.

Cory McKane  9:49  
Then I mean being so I run a fitness company and then being a fitness podcast and the health podcast I'll say like also, I know for a fact that working out definitely helps you sleep for sure. I know on like this weekend, for example, I didn't do any working out. And that was my worst sleep nights. And today, I just finished filming. I'm going to hit the gym later. And I know that I'm going to have a much better slumber. So but yeah, sauna sauna, our spa or sauna is currently closed at my gym, which is very frustrating. Because, yeah, that definitely helps me get my buy just overall feeling better, and definitely helps my sleep as well. So what do you guys? What are your plans for like growing in this market? Like, is there a lot of competition? Do you guys have like a direct path to growth? Like, where are you at with all that?

Janne Kyllöen  10:34  
Yeah, so we we are the only active noise canceling devices. So our competition is more like foam earplugs or this passive noise canceling device, which doesn't do that good job in the low frequencies like snoring. The people know that. And then they discover noise masking devices, couple of brands doing that. So those are played backing, you sound what you select. So it's like a wind noise or airplane can be noise or something like that. So those are hiding the noises, what are unwanted. So it's a totally different kind of technology, what what we are doing so that sense we have like, empty, empty market. And, of course, we are looking at the big plans to go. Actually, in our mission, we have talking about the quiet on would be synonym for the sleep airbox in the future. So we are bringing in the new type of product brand in the market. In that sense. It is not even new product, it's bright type of variety. The form is something that has never been before.

Cory McKane  11:49  
Cranberries in your own your own little niche in the market. Yeah.

Janne Kyllöen  11:53  
Yeah, that's the thing. So we have so totally something like 80,000 devices. But I still feel that it'd be hard just to scratch the surface in that sense, because the customer base in this segment is is huge. And I think that we have the amazing opportunity in our hands.

Cory McKane  12:14  
Oh, absolutely. I think the way I don't think your current like the current aware market is that big but the market that's unaware like myself is massive. Just I think there's millions of people that have trouble sleeping, but you guys can easily once educated definitely convinced, start using this because like Yeah, I mean, I'm on board personally, I'm, as I'm talking, I'm realizing how bad my ears are. I also have really had problems on airplanes. So like, if I don't have these little earbuds on my, in my ears when we take off or land, my ears will literally be ringing for like three days. It's just like this terrible. I absolutely hate flying. If I don't have I can't fly out. So would you know if these help on you know, flying with like taking off and landing? Like the elevation change?

Janne Kyllöen  13:10  
Yeah, so you're talking about this testing the pressure in the air?

Cory McKane  13:16  
I guess so. You're that you're the expert? I don't know. I guess so. Yeah.

Janne Kyllöen  13:19  
Yeah, it's a little bit different thing than then doing the audio freaks, but our devices also it's airtight in your ear. And it slows down how the pressure goes through the device. It adds us also to the higher and lower pressures, or the insole flow that being the audio is not hard on that. So most likely, it would help also in in your case, for this problems.

Cory McKane  13:46  
Do you guys have a sound like what you're trying to do? But like do you guys have plans on making this and audio devices while they can play music? Or is that like not really requested as much?

Janne Kyllöen  13:56  
Not Yeah, people are not really requesting on that. And also I think that we will want like to go there because if you put the Bluetooth and then your power consumption goes up and then you have the bigger battery and then it doesn't fit your ear anymore. So it's a different kinds of product and segment there. Although if you're making the hearing protection business then the size is not that critical. And there there perhaps could be places where we want to have the connectivity also in the credit but not for the sleeping use case.

Cory McKane  14:30  
Gotcha. Okay. And then so what well goes into making this device like like when you guys first started, are you just putting like earbud in a piece of plastic and then making it tiny and putting your ear like how like how did you even start with the development of this?

Janne Kyllöen  14:46  
Yeah, so so we started the first of all, just getting the design tools, pre design tool that was because we are in that time, so started to make the single processing, modeling that how do how the signal should go. And then we did, you know, go to software solution and then ended up to this analog solution. So old fashioned resistors and capacitors and amplifiers and building those kind of audio path out of that. So the signal processing methods and then we made a little bit bigger prototype first tested that it really works makes the signal what we want you looking through the oscilloscopes and all that. And, and then we made this kind of, I would say the Tom fingernail size of the circuit board under the microscope manually welding that and, and use the speaker what we just found somewhere and microphone and use the hot glue and nail polish and make this kind of purple pipe, which was fully functional but look really looking nice. And that is where we started the also testing with the people and

Cory McKane  16:07  
yeah, that's sorry, I actually unmuted myself, myself. No, that's, that's awesome. I really like him the worst with you know, building things with my hands. So whenever someone tells me like how they created a product that developed over time, it always like blows my mind. But how big is your guys current team right now?

Janne Kyllöen  16:25  
We have just about 15 persons now.

Cory McKane  16:30  
That's awesome. How are you guys like fun like us fundraise like, what type of a company are you guys.

Janne Kyllöen  16:35  
So we are actually like seed face company, we have got total like 2 million about funding and of course we are be selling devices already. So three years, around 4 million revenue level. But now we are credible. Yet another third person is hitting in and now the growth starts really.

Cory McKane  17:00  
So what's what is another version of this, of this look like? Are you guys gonna keep adding more and more features?

Janne Kyllöen  17:09  
I think that the core user experience that the Active Noise Cancelling, or the total noise canceling is effective. And the comfort is perfect. Those are the key drivers, which we can even further improve the product and will be also in the future, the most important things, of course, design and look and feel and all of that other supporting things there. And let's see in the future. For example, you know, all the party censoring and those kinds of things. Could have been natural things, but those also consume power and make the product bigger and all that and we don't want to do that.

Cory McKane  17:51  
Yeah, I feel like if you guys are already doing millions of the products create, it's kind of hard to like to figure out where you'd want to go next. Because it's just like, I mean, it already fits in your ear and helps you get to sleep. Maybe you like put a lullaby in there somewhere. I don't know. But I mean, like for me, from my perspective, it sounds like it's already pretty great.

Janne Kyllöen  18:10  
Yeah, I also agree and also we get the really great customer feedback all the time. Both of those messages. Thank you for saving our marriage.

Cory McKane  18:21  
Oh, cuz yeah, because when if your spouse snores that definitely. Yeah, that could just like block out all story.

Janne Kyllöen  18:30  
Yes, yeah. It makes amazing jump on that. Although of course, there might be somebody who is snoring so hard that you can't get rid of totally but anyway, we can take it out of out of and typically that helps for the sleeping.

Cory McKane  18:44  
Yeah, cuz I store myself so I personally definitely could. I don't have a spouse but my future spouse could definitely use this although what am I snapped my sight I definitely don't snore. So. I these will actually be really nice for me when I tried this out. This is awesome. Um, but yeah, I mean, this is great. I don't have any more questions for you. Do you have anything you want to leave the audience with anything to promote? Quiet on or anything like that? Yeah,

Janne Kyllöen  19:13  
not much. I just thank you for having me. And, and also that if somebody wants to know more quiet on.com there you're going to find a lot more information and also some articles and things around sleeping and well being.

Cory McKane  19:29  
Boom, there we go. Well, yep, a yawn right. Pronounced yawn. Yes. Well, that's ironic, actually. It's kind of funny. Okay. Oh, that's sleeping, sleeping pronounced by yawn. There we go. Well, Jada was awesome to have you on the podcast. I'm definitely gonna check out quite often. I'll put some links to your website and our our podcasts and we'll go from there.

Janne Kyllöen  19:49  
Okay, thank you. Alright, see ya. Take care.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai