CEO and Founder,
Richard Hurley is a go-to resource for parents hoping to offer their children with special-needs the opportunity to learn music. For 8 years, Richard has been developing innovative tools and techniques to allow students on the autism spectrum a music education comparable to their “neurotypical” peers.
What he’s doing is NOT music therapy, and it’s gained him many supporters. He’s now translating his unique approach to a mobile app with the power to reach more students with special needs, empower parents, and allow his current students to grow outside of classes.
Richard’s passion for music began at a young age. By 13 he was training with a concert pianist. After immigrating to the United States from Ireland, he worked for a skyscraper exterior fabricator. Then in 2009 the construction industry faced massive layoffs. Richard jokes, “Lehmann Brothers collapsed and the construction industry went into seizure so I went back to music. Satoshi Nakamoto created blockchain and I created Hurley Piano!”
Back to his true passion, music, Richard didn’t initially set out to work with students with special needs. When he began teaching his very first student on the spectrum, Richard was able to see past the “emotional storm” in order to patiently develop specialized techniques that acknowledge the dignity and intelligence of the student. As word of his success spread, he took on more and more students.
Initial validation for his approach came from parents and the success of his students. Yet, when he started collaborating with the Williams Community School he gained the insight and expertise that he needed from experts in the field. Still, he knew he needed more to really grow his venture which is why he joined the Tech Ranch community and Venture Forth.
His venture’s progress during Venture Forth was stunning with Richard himself stating, “I’ve gotten further in the past 8 weeks than I have in the past 2 years.” Now, as he prepares to expand the reach of his methods through the his app, he is in a position to positively impact the lives of many more young students.
Richard’s long-term vision for the business includes AI, IoT, and robotics. Most importantly, he wants his venture to support the special needs community, by giving back a portion of profits, and hiring as many people as possible within the special needs community.
What is the #1 piece of advice that you give entrepreneurs?
The very quality that drives you to start your own business will hold you back. Your individuality and willingness to go it alone has to be left behind, and you must learn to build teams and work with others.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
Listen to your customer. Everything else is nonsense.
Perfection is the enemy of achievement.
You need advisers, people who know more than you to bounce ideas off.
What skills do you think have helped you the most as you’ve grown your venture?
What has being a part of the Tech Ranch community been like for you as an entrepreneur?
Watching the cohort collaborate, communicate and innovate, watching the strength of people working together. The Tech Ranch community pushed me to act on everything I learned at the Williams Community School.