Roadie is a nifty little robotic device. It’s a small box that you put on your guitar’s machine heads. You connect it to your phone and it automatically tunes your guitar, all by itself. Earlier today, the startup was selected as the audience choice in the Disrupt NY Battlefield. And it’s no surprise. Roadie is accurate, fast and easy — if you’re a musician, it will save you a lot of time.
“Our company is called Band Industries, and we specialize in music tech products. We basically want to bring richer experiences around music,” co-founder and CEO Hassane Slaibi told me in an interview before going on stage.
Roadie’s key advantage is that it works with any guitar
The company’s first device is Roadie — it costs $79 and is available to pre-order on the website. The startup plans on delivering the product in July. In the meantime, it did a Kickstarter campaign that ended in January 2014, in which the company raised around $180,000.
“We worked for two years on the technology out of Beirut, Lebanon,” Slaibi said. Then, the company got accepted into Haxlr8r, a startup accelerator based in Shenzhen, China. In Slaibi’s own words, Shenzhen is “the electronics capital of the world.”
Roadie’s key advantage is that it works with any guitar. Electric guitars, acoustic guitars and string instruments with guitar-like machine heads are all compatible with Roadie. “It’s one device for all guitars,” Slaibi said.
When it comes to the technical foundation, Roadie connects via Bluetooth to your phone. The phone is like the heart of the device. It listens to your instrument when you pick a string, and it sends comments via Bluetooth so Roadie can adjust the string.
In addition to the Kickstarter campaign, the team of four has so far only raised $25,000 from Haxlr8r. And now it gets the chance to demo its product on the Disrupt stage in front of our tough team of judges.
Questions & Answers
Judges: Mike Brown Jr (Bowery Capital), John Frankel (ff Venture Capital),
Melody McCloskey (StyleSeat), and
David Tisch (BoxGroup).
Mike Brown Jr: You have a good consumer product, why don’t you focus and continue in that direction?
Answer: We’re all musicians in the company. We love this field so much. We don’t think a guitar tuner will change the world, and we will change the world of music.
David Tisch: How do you guys win? On product, brand, community?
Answer: It’s the product itself, definitely. It makes life so much easier.
Jason Kincaid: Electronic tuners are $9 on Amazon, why would I buy this?
Answer: It opens up a new dimension to your music.
David Tisch: Why don’t you guys see yourself as a community company? GoPro is really building a community.
Melody McCloskey: I agree with that. If you get extra special things, that could be an interesting play.
Answer: That’s somewhere we’re looking into. We’re looking into creating a service where you can see how a certain artist tunes its guitar.
John Frankel: It seems like a niche market, but your execution is really good. There may be undiscovered options, and I wish you good luck.
Answer: Thank you.