About the project
Bassam Jalgha has sought to ease the path for millions of music-lovers through his auto-tune device for the guitar. His hard work paid off as the young Lebanese won Stars of Science Season 1 in 2009 with his auto-tuning product for string musical instruments.
Bassam did not waste any time after SOS securing a U.S. patent and taking his device to market under the name ‘Roadie Tuner.’
He left his teaching job at the American University of Beirut in 2013 to further develop his invention. Not long after, he started his own company, Band Industries, with long-time friend Hassane Slaibi. Together they launched the first crowdfunding campaign, which raised USD 178,000 and allowed them to hit the international market. His admission into the famous HAX accelerator program in China (the world’s first and largest) intertwined with countless days and nights of hard work was just the beginning for Bassam.
Three rounds of crowdfunding later, Bassam is currently about to launch the next version of Roadie Tuner- Roadie 3.
To date, Bassam’s rapidly growing company has a team of more than 20 employees.
Where is Bassam now?
After shipping the first Roadie Tuner to users around the world, Bassam and his team immediately got to work developing the second-generation of the device and then the third, Roadie 3. The newer versions featured improvements based on customer feedback, including capabilities for sound and vibration effects. A fervent fan base boosted Roadie Tuner with a successful crowdfunding campaign, garnering USD 500,000 in orders in 2017. Bassam sold tens of thousands of units that fall.. His most recent crowd-funding campaign saw USD 370,000, which was impressive, given it was launched in the middle of a global pandemic.
The Roadie Tuner has become a new trend for music lovers everywhere.
A proud owner of the first Roadie Tuner, Carter, shared his experience on amazon.com. “I own five guitars and a bass, and this little gizmo saves me time, energy, and tuning monotony every single day. After several uses on each guitar, it has proved insanely accurate, astonishingly quick, and notably hassle-free,” he said.
Roadie Tuner has more than a few notable fans. Spike Edney, famous for touring with the band Queen, sang its praises. “I think the concept is fantastic,” Edney said. “As far as I’m concerned, this is a major leap forward.”
A big reward for Bassam has been the experience he’s gained managing a blossoming company. He’s beefed up his hardware development team, taken on interns, and learned how to handle a multinational business.
It is not all about the business, though. Bassam has been blogging about “Do It Yourself” (DIY) projects. His wish is to spread DIY culture in Lebanon and encourage people to work in product development. He has also been an active ambassador, speaking on the TEDx Beirut stage where he doesn’t hold back engaging audiences with an address called “Why can’t we, Arabs, have our own NASA?”
Bassam, along with other technology enthusiasts, established Lamba Labs Beirut Hackerspace. Lamba Labs was the first hackerspace in Lebanon, and one of the first in the Arab world. The hackerspace serves as a community space where people from different disciplines (arts, graphics, computer science or engineering) gather to share tools and knowledge. Since its inception in August 2012, Lamba Labs hosted 40 workshops, and organized special Build Nights, where large numbers of people work on a variety of products.
As for his more recent plans, Bassam shared them with us with a laugh “We did have plans up until 2020.” “Things in Lebanon are not great at the moment, so we live day by day. We have just launched version 3 of the Roadie, and we are now manufacturing that version. We have also shifted a little towards online music education,” he says.
“In the past if people wanted to learn an instrument, they would have to go to a teacher, whereas now, people will first learn on YouTube, so we want to build tools to help those students. We just released an app that teaches the ukulele; we are using it as a test product to learn how to best teach other instruments. We really want to contribute to this new age of education and of course, stay in the musical space.”
Bassam’s personal reflection
“I wouldn't be an entrepreneur if it wasn't for Stars of Science. The show was a stepping stone in my career. I learned many things but the most important one was how to think like an entrepreneur and the realization that I can design, develop, and get a product to the international market if I set my mind to it,” noted Bassam.
The innovator is currently focusing on growing his company, describing his work style as “obsessed, pragmatic, and experimental.” Bassam is always short on time, and ‘suffers’ from a serious case of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) syndrome.
“I advise everyone interested in being on the show to think long and hard before applying,” said Bassam.“Don’t come to the show expecting the experts to do all the work for you. Apply only when you want to give your 100 percent.”
In 2014, Bassam won the Techcrunch Disrupt NY Audience Choice as well as the London Design Award for Roadie Tuner.
Bassam in the news
Bassam’s work has been featured on international websites, including hackaday.com, lifehacker.com and howtogeek.com, and appeared on the front page of instructables.com. For more information about his activities, please visit: