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. 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. To date, Bassam’s rapidly growing company has a team of 14 employees.
Two rounds of crowdfunding later, Bassam is about to launch the next version of Roadie Tuner. Did we mention his admission into the famous HAX accelerator program in China (the world’s first and largest), and countless days and nights of hard work? For Bassam this was just the beginning.
After shipping the first Roadie Tuner to users around the world, Bassam and his team immediately got to work developing the second-generation device. The new version features 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 $500,000 USD in orders. Bassam is primed to sell tens of thousands of units in the fall of 2017 – the company’s largest production to date.
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 world-famous 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 at TEDx Beirut. He doesn’t hold back on stage, 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.
In 2014, Bassam won the Techcrunch Disrupt NY Audience Choice as well as the London Design Award for Roadie Tuner.
“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 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 on 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.”
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: