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Sounds of Success

information systems / alumni

Steve Martocci is a software developer who loves music.

In 2010, the Carnegie Mellon University alumnus merged his passions to create an app to locate his friends at a crowded Disco Biscuits concert. Named GroupMe, the idea took off as thousands of other groups used the smartphone app to organize social events and establish meeting places.

A year later, Martocci and his cofounder, Jared Hecht, sold the company to Skype for a reported $85 million.

Today, Martocci is combining his love of software and music in a more direct way. Splice, the company he co-founded in 2013 with sound engineer Matt Aimonetti, is a cloud-based music creation platform with a library of more than two million sound samples, from kick drum beats to bird calls, which can be used by musicians, sound designers, sound editors for film and anyone else.

Splice has more than 750,000 users and is currently earning nearly $10 million in annual revenue. It is no wonder the 35-year-old Martocci recently was named to “Crain’s New York Business” 40 under 40 Class of 2017.

Martocci credits his 2004 degree in information systems from Carnegie Mellon’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences for giving him the computing chops and problem-solving tools to be a serial entrepreneur. Growing up in Long Island, he tinkered with computers. But it was not until he enrolled at Carnegie Mellon that he learned how to program, which he said helped him to flourish.

Martocci’s success is music to the ears of Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Weinberg. “Information systems prepares people for an incredibly diverse set of professional paths,” Weinberg said. “We typically attract students with a wide variety of interests. It’s about how technology can improve the lives of other people or advance the mission of an organization. In Steve’s case, with GroupMe and now Splice, they are both tremendous applications of technology in interesting fields.”

Martocci recalled how much he learned from professors in the Carnegie Mellon classrooms and from his classmates, who were talented student programmers in their own right.

In his room of his fraternity house, he started working on his own creative ideas. Using existing apps for fantasy sports as a model, he developed a similar game for television shows. It allowed fans to predict what TV characters would do, such as “How many times is Jack Bauer going to kill someone?” on the series “24.”

Looking back at those early efforts, he said: “The code was terrible. But it was empowering that I could build something myself. It gave me the ability to express myself and create. Code became my canvas.”