VivaTech 2021


Roland Lamb



United Kingdom


Roland Lamb is the founder and CEO of ROLI, a London-based music technology company that “makes fascinating music products” (TechCrunch). Roland has reinvented the piano keyboard twice, in the process winning numerous design and innovation awards as well as fans including Grimes, Hans Zimmer, Kelly Clarkson, Finneas, and Stevie Wonder. He created the Seaboard, ROLI’s iconically black-on-black keyboard made of pressure-responsive silicone, while a design graduate student. His latest invention is the brightly colorful LUMI, a hit product that TIME magazine and CES named one of the most innovative products of 2020. LUMI helps musical beginners learn the piano by playing pop and classical songs they already love — made easy by following light-up keys that sync with colors in a companion app. LUMI culminates Roland’s decade-long mission to extend the joy of making music to everyone, regardless of age or stage. Roland is a skilled jazz pianist who comes from a musical family in New Hampshire. Prior to founding ROLI in 2009 he travelled the world and lived for a time at a Zen Buddhist monastery in Japan. At Harvard he studied philosophy, specialising in thought systems in China and India. He was on course to become a philosopher before enrolling in a Master’s Degree program in design at the Royal College of Art. It was there that he considered the limitations of the piano from a design perspective, and how it might evolve to allow the expressivity of string, brass, and digital instruments all in one. This was the genesis of the Seaboard — and all of the physical instruments as well as desktop and mobile apps that ROLI now sells worldwide. Roland is married to the novelist Tahmima Anam and lives in London.