November 14, 2013
Have you ever dropped your smartphone in the sand at the beach? What about into a river while you were on a rafting trip? Either way, you see where I’m going with this – your device is rendered unusable, and it stinks.
David Sanborn, a Georgia Tech graduate with a BS in Polymer and Fiber Engineering, designed and developed the VAULT Series speaker cases under the banner of his startup, AudioActiv. To him, portability is the fundamental feature most speaker owners enjoy about their device, and now consumers don’t have to worry about water, dirt, or impact.
“I wanted a simple way to protect my Jawbone JAMBOX while listening to music on the beach,” says Sanborn. “I started by building a prototype waterproof case that could transmit some sounds and protect the speaker at the same time.”
When a large number of people expressed a vested interest in purchasing cases of their own, Sanborn realized he had an actual, marketable product on his hands. And VAULT cases were being used by 20-year-olds during parties, but by adults for daily use as well: they hit a wide demographic.
“We have also seen more customers using our case to create a mountable speaker system on kayaks, ATV's, bicycles, and full-size boats,” says Sanborn.
Imagining the product is easy enough, but developing and testing the technology for transmitting large volumes of sound from within a waterproof case took some major effort. After that hurdle, it was difficult to find a material that could maintain the sound quality while also providing a durable, element-proof barrier.
But Sanborn would not be discouraged, and he kept improving the technology, ultimately achieving all of AudioActiv’s performance metrics. His hard work was rewarded because he was the first to market with this idea.
There are countless Bluetooth speaker options, and VAULT cases fit five different styles, and they are the only marketable option completely resistant to water, dirt, dust, sand, and impact. The team is seizing the opportunity to grow the brand and reputation by making the highest quality, most functional product on the market.
The proof is in the sales: their hand-built VAULT case sales exceeded the supply for most of the year. And as AudioActiv is nearing a launch of their first case that can be supplied on a large scale, they will begin putting together a marketing campaign outside of Amazon sales, social media, and word of mouth recommendations.
“Portable electronics are rapidly replacing devices that cater to in-home use only,” says Sanborn. “A speaker that looks great on the kitchen table might not look so great after a trip to the beach and, conversely, a speaker built for the beach does not look great in the kitchen.”
Setting up shop in Atlanta will only be a benefit as well. Aside from being very inexpensive, the close proximity to Georgia Tech allows bountiful technical resources and employees.
AudioActiv was featured at Tech Cocktail's Atlanta Mixer & Startup Showcase on October 7th.
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