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Chicago startup's Kickstarter campaign raises $1.3M for vertical turntable

Written by
Clayton Guse
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An 1871 startup's Kickstarter has raised a whopping $1.3 million for a vertical record player. The company, Gramovox, was founded in 2013 and has already made waves with its Bluetooth Gramophone. Its latest project, dubbed the "Floating Record," has attracted more than 3,600 backers on the crowdfunding platform and is still growing. The initial goal of the campaign was $50,000, which was exceeded in a matter of days. 

"My goal was to hit $1 million," said Gramovox CEO and co-founder Pavan Bapu. "We hit that in two weeks."

The concept of the floating record is simple: Take a conventional record player and rotate it 90 degrees so users can see the grooves and art on the vinyl while they listen. For many turntable aficionados, this idea sounds like a good way to scratch up a bunch of records. Bapu assured that Gramovox's team has worked out any kinks and have made a well-calibrated machine.

"The engineering on our end is robust," he said. "The Floating Record player plays as good, if not better, as a hi-fi turntable." 

Even if some audiophiles are turned off by the vertical orientation, thousands of people have enough confidence in the product to put up some serious cash for its creation. More than 2,500 people have pledged at least $349 on Kickstarter, which guarantees them a Floating Record worth $449 next December. 

The campaign closes next Tuesday at 8am, at which point Gramovox will be awarded its heap of funding. After that, the company plans to open a 70,000-square-foot factory in suburban West Chicago to produce the Floating Records.

If all goes as planned, Gramovox could become one of the most successful startups to come out of 1871, a startup incubator on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart. The company moved into its space there last March, and, needless to say, things have panned out pretty well since. 

Gramovox is celebrating its successful Kickstarter with a launch party at Revolution on Thursday night.

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