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The estimated $10 billion global market for wireless audio devices is as popular as it's ever been — a fact an upstart audio company discovered after it set out to raise $50,000 for two new products but got more than five times the amount.
Como Audio, the brainchild of the consumer electronics guru behind Tivoli Audio, announced last week it had raised a total of more than $268,000 through Kickstarter with 973 backers on a campaign that began on June 7. Underscoring the power of crowdfunding and the large demand for high-tech audio devices, Como — which opened its doors in March — originally set out to raise a mere $50,000.
With the rise of smartphones and digital music players, sales of high-end stereos and the speakers that once powered them have been on a downward slope with music aficionados. That has led some manufacturers to get with the trend by creating wireless speakers more compatible with digital music.
"When streaming services took over, a lot of people stopped paying attention to sound quality. You listened to music through your earbuds, your laptop or your smartphone. Or you connected to a music player through Bluetooth and everything sounded a little better — as long as you stayed within 30 feet," said Tom DeVesto, Como Audio's founder, in a statement.
Because of the unexpected cash infusion, DeVesto told CNBC that the company wasn't seeking other investors, at least for the moment. "Our main consideration with Kickstarter was to qualify for Amazon Prime. Which happily we have," he said.
DeVesto added that the company was "grateful for the money we raised and the 1000 backers that we now have a relationship with."
Como Audio joins a crowded market that includes the likes of Bose, Sonos and Beats by Dre. The wireless audio market is considered a rapidly expanding sector that BIS Research projects will top $33 billion by 2022, the firm said in a March report.
Como's two devices, the Solo and the Duetto, have a decidedly retro look of a compact AM/FM radio but boast a high-fidelity sound that can channel streaming radio and is Bluetooth/wireless compatible. The Solo and Duetto can play podcasts, streams from a computer or smartphone and can have stations preprogrammed to use Spotify, Pandora or any other streaming platform.
The founder has invested more than $1 million in product development, and the Kickstarter windfall will be applied to other startup expenses, he added. Because of the added money, Como Audio has added two new color combinations to the Solo and Duetto—expanding the product offerings to 4, DeVesto told CNBC.
Solo's retail cost is $299, while the Duetto goes for $399.