founder

Founder Profile: The Audio Genius Building Como Audio

Summary

At the time of publication, 5/20/19, Como Audio had raised $198,873
While the age of the smart speaker has provided millions of Americans with access to high quality speakers, in many ways we have lost something. The elements of classic design, easy-to-use speakers and exceptional sound have been a bit lost in this age of commoditized smart speakers.

For those trying to find a speaker that lets you listen to music the way artist wanted you to listen to it, there is Como Audio. Como Audio is bringing back quality, classic design and is designed by one of the speaker industries leaders, Tom Devestos.

 

Tom has been designing speakers for 20+ years and has already built more than one successful speaker business including Tivoli Audio, which he sold when it was generating $40M+ in annual revenue. With an industry leader back at it, this is an opportunity to back a brilliant mind in the space as he builds his next major speaker business.

We sat down with the legend himself, and he didn’t disappoint. Check out our discussion below and be sure to check out the current campaign on Wefunder.  
Chris Lustrino

Tom, can you tell us about your long career in the speaker design business and why you continue to be drawn to starting up in this space?

Tom Devestos

It’s all about the music! I go to at least one live performance every week. Many weeks two or three. I love the opportunity to bring that experience home to Music Lovers. I have a 40+ year history of doing that with products people love and can afford.

Chris Lustrino

You have invested significant dollars of your own into this company. Can you talk about that? I know investors love founders that have skin in the game...

Tom Devestos

I think our approach is visionary. The trouble with vision is that unless you prove it is commercially successful no one can see it. I have been very fortunate over the years with several successful companies. It is time to reinvest in the future of Music.

Chris Lustrino

What is the core differentiator of Como Audio?

Tom Devestos

You can access your music from FM, Internet Radio, Spotify, Amazon and more simply by pushing a button. No phone or computer required.

Chris Lustrino

What are the essential elements to great design in speakers from your perspective?

Tom Devestos

From a performance point of view it is basically to pay attention to the physics. Those laws don’t change. A strong cabinet and powerful amplifiers are key. The aesthetic design is extremely “Bauhaus”. We use natural materials like beautiful wood, metal and paint.

Chris Lustrino

Talk about the simplicity of use in your speakers. When it comes out of the box, what does a user need to do to start using it?

Tom Devestos

One can simply plug the unit in and turn it on. The consumer needs to have the products join their wifi network and search for their favorite internet stations. With our Musica CD one can simply insert a CD and sit back and enjoy.

Chris Lustrino

Tom Devestos
Chris Lustrino

What are some new products and product features you plan to roll out?

Tom Devestos

We have just launched a line of beautiful turntables at one end of the technological timeline and awesome sounding stereo system with built-in Google assistant at the other will come out this summer.

Chris Lustrino

Do you have a sense of who your core user is and what they look like?

Tom Devestos

Music Lovers! That said we tend to skew to baby boomers, folks 50 and above. Music has always been an important part of life to those folks and they still love going to concerts and listening at home.

Chris Lustrino

You sell throughout Europe. What are the challenges in doing that and how have you been able to effectively do this?

Tom Devestos

In past companies we sold more in Europe than in the US. My name is a brand in many European countries and we have assembled a seasoned team and logistics center in the Netherlands. Currently the European business is close to 50% and rising.

Chris Lustrino

Why did you decide to do an equity crowdfunding raise and how will you utilize the capital?

Tom Devestos

We wanted to qualify for a program that Amazon introduced a few years ago called LaunchPad. One of the things we needed to do to qualify was either a VC deal or a successful Crowdfunding deal.  

We qualified but the LaunchPad program wasn’t what it was advertised to be. However, the real prize was getting almost 1,000 people to back us for a product we hadn’t made yet. Instant social community. When we delivered early and over performed the response was extraordinary.

Chris Lustrino

What are the steps you need to take as a team to go from $3M in sales to $30M+ in sales?

Tom Devestos

Sell more stuff!  We have the products, the logistics and the team in place. We will fill in management a bit as we grow but the basic systems are in place. We  currently operate our own web stores in the US and Europe. We sell FBA through Amazon in the US and Canada and have native language Amazon sites in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

The way we will get our sales to grow is through intensive PR, participation in shows and advertising, both digital and print. Our products are heavily covered in the world press.

Backing Tom and Como Audio is the opportunity to back a fast-growing smart speaker startup that fills the gap in the market for the baby-boomer listener. It’s also the opportunity to back a genius of the speaker world.


If interested in learning more, check out the current round HERE.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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