In the late 1970s, a revolutionary portable music device emerged—the boombox. It changed the way people listened to music, it allowed them to take it everywhere they went! Music lovers were suddenly able to immerse themselves in their passion from the beach to the corner of the block. Now, just as it was then, music is an important part of being. It connects us and allows us to express ourselves, and along the way with the rise of the Walkman, the CD player and the iPod, we stopped sharing our music.
MIKA Audio is bringing the era of the boombox back by expanding on the technology that made it so famous. It started off as a personal project to build something louder than a traditional Bluetooth speaker of its size, but after almost a year, the team at MIKA began developing it for commercialization. MIKA has a drive to create a unique and edgy Bluetooth Speaker — one that’s louder than what you’d expect, as well as proudly Canadian!
MIKA’s speakers are specially handcrafted in Toronto by a team of talented engineers. They come in two vintage looks, SkyBlue and Hardwood, and sound exceptional at all volumes, which is the company’s unique spin. With its lightweight and compact build, MIKA Audio has really reimagined the original boombox for the modern world.
“We understand why the MIKA Speaker is relevant in this market. MIKA is developing custom hardware which pushes our systems to be louder and clearer through all use cases” says Derek Mascarenhas, Founder and Product Development Lead of MIKA Audio.
“[Your venture] should focus on three things: validating, differentiating and developing a worthwhile product for your customer- those are our core values” adds Derek.
That belief and determination to follow their vision led to a $30,000 grant from the Accelerator Centre through AC Jumpstart. Just 8 months ago MIKA joined the Toronto Enterprise program, and received an additional $5,000 in funding along with mentorship and business training from Toronto’s finest entrepreneurs.
“These grants have proven more valuable than just the cash aspect. The mentorship helps us solve complex problems through advice and expertise” says Derek. “MIKA’s goal is to develop cutting edge audio hardware. We see ourselves as the underdogs in a large market with a unique design approach.”
Derek and his team have been eager to receive advice and mentorship from industry experts. As a RIC Centre client for 2 years, MIKA Audio has a great amount of support coming from their advisor James Sbrolla.
“The RIC Centre acts as the mediator between our startup and larger organizations that we wouldn’t be able to find on our own,” says Derek.
MIKA Audio will continue to use their talents to create high quality audio devices for music lovers. “We’re also currently developing an Android enabled Hi-Fi player called the MIKA ONE for release in the near future, but that’s a bit more hush hush”
Interested in learning more about MIKA? Check out their website here.
Think you have a creative and innovative technology that needs mentorship from an industry expert? Register to become a RIC Centre client to get access to all our free programs and services to help you fast-track your business to market.