The Floating Record is Chicago's new Kickstarter king.
As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, Chicago-based Gramovox had raised $1,028,683 for that project with 20 days to go on its Kickstarter campaign. That's more than the $1,026,292 raised in 2013 by Central Standard Timing for its ill-fated “world's thinnest watch” — the old record for a Chicago-based Kickstarter campaign.
Creators of that campaign, known as CST, have yet to deliver more than a small number of watches after a host of manufacturing snafus. They say they're out of money, and they have apologized to angry backers.
The Floating Record follows Gramovox’s Bluetooth Gramophone, which raised $241,000 on Kickstarter in late 2013. CEO Pavan Bapu said last month that the company was a few months late delivering that product to backers and that he hoped to avoid any problems with the Floating Record.
Bapu said Tuesday that he had thought the new project would hit it big, despite a modest $50,000 goal.
“I was thinking that we would do a million, but I was not thinking we’d do it this quickly,” he said.
A pledge of $349 will earn Kickstarter backers one of the turntables. Once the campaign is over, Bapu said, it will retail for $449 in stores.
Instead of lying flat, the product’s turntable and tone arm rise vertically from the base — producing the image of a floating record. While traditional tone arms simply drop onto the record, the Floating Record’s is spring-loaded so that it presses gently onto the surface.
The tone arm includes a cueing mechanism so users don’t have to place it directly on the record.
“You’ll be able to hover it over a spot on the record, then push a lever and it will gracefully drop,” Bapu said.
Bapu said he was aware of the CST debacle as he prepared for the Floating Record campaign. He said he hired a third-party manufacturer, West Chicago-based AssemTech.
He also said he has worked out the manufacturing process to make sure he can make the device in large numbers and that he's already ordering parts and preparing for assembly, which will take place in West Chicago.
“We planned for the Kickstarter, but also for the holiday season beyond that,” he said. “It’s totally doable.”