January 3, 2020
Speakers are the foundation of how we experience sound in today’s world. From concerts and home music theaters to cellphones and over-the-ear headphones, the sound from speakers come to surround us in every sphere of life. However, the core technology behind speakers has not changed for decades now, leaving the possibility open for newer designs to have their acoustic breakthrough. Brian Cho, 26, Christian Femrite, 22, Erikc Perez-Perez, 23, and Peter Moeckel, 21, recognized the stagnation of speaker technology, creating Resonado to bring paradigm-shifting speakers to market. Resonado is an audio hardware startup that is attempting to disrupt the B2B speaker market space with Flat Core Speaker (FCS) technology. The South Bend, Indiana-based startup has raised $1.14M to date from 500 Startups, Catapult Ventures, Connetic Ventures, Dorm Room Fund, OWL Investment, and Queen City Angels (QCA).
QCA’s Pete Effler says, “Queen City Angels (QCA) is excited about our recent investment in Resonado. We made the decision to invest based on three primary factors. One, the company has a very solid team comprised of young, intelligent, energetic entrepreneurs coupled with seasoned veterans in key roles. Two, there are unique technology innovations in their product that combine speaker performance, fit/function, and cost efficiency for a breakthrough disruption to a well-established legacy market. Three, the team’s comprehensive IP / patent strategy will allow them to establish and maintain a strong defensible position in the market.”
The audio emitted from a speaker is the result of a transducer converting an electrical signal to its corresponding sound. A transducer is a device that turns one form of energy into another. The transducer used in speakers is called a voice coil. A voice coil is a tightly bound wire placed between the poles of a magnet. An electric current is sent through the coil, inducing a magnetic field around the wire loop. The coil’s magnetic field reacts with the magnet, causing the diaphragm (another type of transducer in the speaker’s architecture) that the voice coil is attached to vibrate. The diaphragm transforms the mechanical vibration to sound. The majority of today’s speakers use cylindrical diaphragms within speakers. The limitation of a cylindrical diaphragm is the uneven force application from the voice coil vibrating. Also, the shape of the cone takes up a large amount of space, requiring more material to house the overall speaker.
Resonado claims with Flat Core Speaker technology, their thinner, lighter speakers can provide the same, if not better, high-quality sound as conventional ones. The startup has modified the transducer to be a flattened coil between the poles of a magnet. The novel configuration optimizes space within the speaker while purportedly maintaining the audio quality and output. The key to this innovation lies with the oval diaphragm of Resonado’s speakers. With a flat transducer, the whole surface area can be used instead of the apex of the conical diaphragm, a conventional speaker. These speakers’ new design uses less material, thus making them more sustainable for mass production at an electronics contract facility like Foxconn. The company plans to license its technology to large, well-known companies with active speaker brand divisions such as Harman (which is now owned by Samsung) or Bose. Resonado has already established a formal sound partnership with Notre Dame Athletics for the current school year. Cho has assembled an impressive team to bring this technology to the B2B speaker market at large.
Resonado’s core team all met at Notre Dame as undergraduates. Cho, the CEO, earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance. He previously served in the South Korean military. Femrite, the VP of Engineering, obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering and worked in the Nuclear Science Lab at Notre Dame. Perez-Perez, Chief Marketing Officer, acquired his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and previously worked for Coldwell Banker and Pakta Consulting. Moeckel, VP of Operations, received his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics. He has various finance and strategy experience in intern roles at Essex Financial Services, Gooroo, and O’Shaughnessy Asset Management. Cho’s father rounds out the team at Chief Technology Officer. He is a serial entrepreneur who has sold two hardware companies. These five together are working to reshape the way we experience sound.