While companies like Warby Parker and Toms Shoes have made corporate responsibility more popular over the past few years, the technology industry hasn’t adapted as quickly.
Meet LSTN, a headphone company where proceeds from each sale help someone hear for the first time. The company has partnered with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, and has already helped over 20,000 people in more than six different countries.
LSTN’s headphones are also designed to be stylish. Each pair is encased in real ebony wood and superior audio components. Bridget Hilton, founder of LSTN, explained that while most headphone companies use generic mass-produced drivers (the small speaker inside a headphone), LSTN uses custom-made drivers that properly resonate with the wood material. This gives the headphones a unique sound — better than most other competitors on the market.
The company has also had a great deal of early retail success. LSTN was the first electric device ever in a Whole Foods on the West Coast, and other retail partners include Nordstrom and Brookstone.
Started in April 2013, the company has sold over 100,000 pairs thus far. Prices range from $49.99 (for earbuds) to $199.99 (for the newest Encore edition with mic). Hilton shared that the company soon plans to expand into other sound equipment outside of headphones, and will release eight new products before the end of the year.
While originally bootstrapped, last November the company raised a one million dollar seed round to accelerate its growth.