A Conduit for safety has launched: music to our ears

Members of the Hunnovators community change the way we listen to music, by making it safer and more versatile.

Conduit earphones revolutionize our active lives through bone conduction technology.

Groundbreaking Conduit headphones are ready to roll.

Hunnovators Nicolas Tabori Sabharwal and Stefan Bisits Bullen are a duo of talented young engineers and a great example of best-of-breed startup talent that we as Neumann Society helped connect with supporters on their road to fame. After a long time spent in stealth mode, finally they are here to rock our world with their groundbreaking headphone Conduit, that is using pioneer technology to make our active and commuting lives safer. We thought that you might want to be a part of their story, so we sat down with Co-Founder & CTO Nic to pick his brain.

Co-Founder/CTO Nic Tabori Sabharwal

What is Conduit and what makes it novel?

CONDUIT Sports are the first headphones in the world to combine In-Ear and Off-Ear™ bone-conduction sound in a unified device. Basically, this allows you to either block out the world and hear only the music — like you’re used to with traditional headphones — or to hear everything around you and the music at the same time.

What is the groundbreaking technology behind it?

The groundbreaking aspect is really in the thought that we could innovate by combining existing technologies — In-Ear and Off-Ear™ speakers — in one device. For the people who aren’t familiar with Off-Ear speakers here’s the run down: they sit just in front of your ear, on the temporal bone, and send vibrations through the skull, bypassing the ear canal entirely and leaving the ear unblocked. This lets you hear the music and everything around you at the same time and is found in a lot of military headgear. The technology is also commonly referred to as bone conduction.

We know that the co-founders are of Hungarian origin and the idea has been sparked during your studies in Budapest. How did your inspirations and experiences there contribute to you two embarking on the startup path together?

Stefan and I met in a Hungarian language class where we were both trying to improve our Hungarian. Even though our names may not give it away, Stefan comes from the Zichy family, my grandmother was a Bessenyey, and my grandfather was Laszlo Tabori, who was a famous runner in the 50s.

We spent a lot of time chatting before and after our lessons — never during them of course ;) — and ultimately developed some mobile apps together. One thing led to another and soon we were building CONDUIT. All this came naturally in Budapest, where there’s a increasingly thriving startup community. We regularly visited Fab Lab, a great makerspace in the 6th district, where we discussed our ideas with other innovators and did initial mockups.

How would your describe your journey from idea to the shiny new product you have engineered?

Painful. No but really — it was tough. In the beginning we were all over the place, trying to figure out how you even go about building a product like this. We made a lot of mistakes, but managed to overcome most of them by finding great people to work with. One thing I would say is that it’s all about execution. The idea is the easy part. How it’s actually executed is what matters.

What would be the most practical advice you could offer to young Hunnovators who are bootstrapping their first product?

Never underestimate the value of good mentors; people who have done what you’re setting out to do. Early on when I was considering going down the path of entrepreneurship, I went to one of the first Hunnovators events in San Francisco. I made a few friends and kept in contact with them. One or two turned into mentors and their resources really helped us down the line. I think too many teams keep their ideas to themselves or try to go it alone, not reaching to the startup community at large. A lot of the time people are more willing to help than you think.

As a mindful innovation community, we love to see Hunnovator entrepreneurs who see beyond just building new products. Can you talk a little bit more about how Conduit will make our world a better place?

With our Off-Ear™ speakers you can remain aware and listen to music at the same time. Given that, we think it’s safe say that if everyone owned a pair of CONDUIT Sports, there would be a lot less people getting injured or killed while listening to music and moving about the city. It’s going to be especially helpful for bikers — actually one of the reasons we had the idea was because a friend of ours was involved in an accident with earphones in. It also helps people stay social at work, something we feel is really important.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

CONDUIT Sports is currently live on Kickstarter and we are glad to see that early backers are excited to grab the goodies we built for them. Check out the campaign by visiting www.conduitsports.com!

It’s been great having the opportunity to talk to Hunnovators and we would love this to become a real Hungarian — American — Australian success story!

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