Giving Back: JamStik’s Crowdfunding Journey

We have been very fortunate to work with some great people over the years; one such group is Zivix, the inventors of the jamstik. Besides having created a really cool product that took both Indiegogo and Kickstarter by storm, they have chosen to pay it forward in their mission to make a difference in the world of children’s music education. 

Zivix Producer Matt Cannon shares their story.

Giving Back the Gift of Music: Jamstik’s Crowdfunding Journey

By Matt Cannon, Producer, Zivix LLC @nextgreatest

Here at Zivix, we are passionate about music education, the joy of playing music, and making music more accessible to everyone. We built the jamstik SmartGuitar primarily to make more guitar players. For those that don’t know, the jamstik is a portable, digital guitar that works wirelessly with your iPad, iPhone, or Mac, to teach players the basics of guitar.

We knew we had something pretty special with the technology when we began to see non-musicians learn their first chords in only a few minutes due to our fret sensing / display technology, and we wanted to show it to the world in a big way.  Being a startup company without a lot of resources to cover manufacturing and inventory costs, we turned to crowdfunding.

We knew we had an opportunity to make a big splash with our product, but we also knew we had a chance to put some other amazing organizations in the spotlight and give back to the music education community that inspired us in the first place.  By choosing to give one Jamstik for every 15 pledged for, we were able to make it a big story about more than just the product. Some of the organizations we donated to included Little Kids Rock, Romeo Music, MacPhail Center for Music, MyMusicRX, High School Nation Notes for Notes and other amazing organizations.

Our campaign brought in almost 3000 backers, so we were able to donate over 175 to educators, schools, and music therapists as a result.  The project raised over $800,000; making us the second largest ever run in our home state of Minnesota.  With quite a few more backers to fulfill than we ever expected, not to mention a good number of donations to ship out on our own, we were extremely happy to have a partner in Fulfillrite ready to help us make it happen, giving us more time to do what we do best!

Funding for music and art programs has taken a hit in recent years, so we were more than happy to give back some of our creative products to schools and programs we could really make a difference for.

It’s been amazing to see what educators have done with the product so far, from teaching kids how to play chords with an iPad hooked up to a smart board, to full classrooms of students able to practice in private, and we really hope it’s just the beginning. In the end, giving back allowed us to plant the seed of our new technology in places that have been extremely well receptive and creative with the uses.  Many schools these days are fortunate enough to have an iPad or tablet for their students, and it made the jamstik+ a perfect match for the new generation of tech-savvy kids excited to learn with it in an exciting movement for music technology in education.

Our outreach is still active with educational discounts, pilot programs for educators, and the announcement of our new partnership with Hal Leonard, the world’s largest educational music publisher.  This partnership will allow us to leverage their industry leading catalogue and methods to make our experience even better, ensuring the next generation of students can and will become guitar players!

Our experience goes to show that if you have a great product and a genuine mission behind it, you can get noticed and find fulfillment in your journey!

The Kickstarter experience really helped put us on the map and allow us to keep making a product we love. We continue to improve our App experience with updates to our companion apps, the release of jamTutor 2, and an exciting partnership with FourChords guitar karaoke app, made by Musopia, launching soon. The jamstik+ will be sold at Apple stores and online retailers such as Amazon beginning early September 2015.

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