Anyone in the technology world familiar with Spain knows about Barcelona and Madrid. The former has a slight lead over the latter in capital raised, but the startups in both cities are on even footing for skills and innovation. Go south though and you will have the chance to visit the country’s third largest city, Valencia.
It is there that Necksound was born, and from whence they hope to convince backers of their product’s revolutionary approach to musical motivations during a morning jog. Their big point of difference is removing the ear buds and shifting the speakers down to where your neck meets your shoulders in the form of a concave, plastic necklace.
It’s the brainchild of Alvaro Morillo, born and raised in Valencia who studies at the CEI Design School’s Center for Infographic Studies in Madrid. He went on to study digital marketing and social media at the IEM Business School in Valencia last year.
“It has to do with the proximity of the necklace to the ears and with the fact that it has specially designed stereo speakers directed to your ears,” Morillo told Geektime. “Both facts allow you to enjoy your music without blocking your ears, having the volume too high or disturbing people around you. Although, if complete privacy is desired, you can always connect your earphones.”
Although the region has some of the essential trappings to make a Valencia startup ecosystem — polytechnic funnel Start Up VV, angels syndicate Big Ban Angels, and coworking space Geekhub among them — Valencia pales in comparison to Madrid and Barcelona. They chose to go with Kickstarter, partially because of the small tech scene and investment resources.
“All our private funding [has] come from our family and closer friends who have been very involved in this project since it started,” a spokesperson told Geektime. Considering the bootstrapping, they’ve been popular since launching their crowdfunding effort. They’ve garnered €37,140 from 265 backers on Kickstarter as of this writing, surpassing their initial goal of €30,000. At every increment of another €10,000, they plan to order manufacture of more colors.
“It is a necklace-shaped audio device made with hypoallergenic silicone,” so goes the description of the product. But it’s also a machine in an of itself beyond just a Bluetooth connection to your phone. The device can store up to 1,000 songs with 4GB of memory, according to the company. They’ve also thought about people jogging together, so they allow up to three devices to be in sync on the same playlist or song during a group run. And whether or not you find it convenient, you can answer your phone via Necksound while on the run.
It also includes a magnetic attachment array to affix the necklace to your t-shirt — think bat capes. It has Android 4.0+ and iOS 7.0+ compatibility with connectivity available for devices with Bluetooth 4.0 and above. The battery lasts for six hours, can be charged in two and has a total standby capability of 20 hours. It also connects to conventional headphones — for non-exercise related activities — and stereo-quality speakers at 20-20K Hz.
Their team has 16 members, most of whom are working part-time. Necksound was founded by Alvaro Morillo, with Nacho Ruiz and Carmen Fuster named as co-founders. The first orders should ship by March 2017.