Can You Hear Me Now? Moments in Yurbuds Evolution From Startup To Exit

Every entrepreneur has one or more moments of clarity, when they did something so outrageous that it was a turning point in their nascent business. Earlier this month, at one of our 2nd Thursday events at the Tavern of Fine Arts, we got to hear from Yurbuds’ founder and CEO Seth Burgett talk about several of his favorite moments.

Yurbuds, if you haven’t been paying attention, was the first graduate of ITEN’s Mock Angel program back in 2008 and the leading company in our Top Ten Reports for the last two years. Earlier this month they not only were bought out by Harmon Kardon but also will become the audio company’s headphone division. This means more hires and more attention coming to our community.

But many of us who have followed the company’s rise to success remember the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Seth describes the moment when his marketing team got the idea to promote the product at the Olympics, and within hours they were heading north to try to convince athletes and broadcasters to try on a pair. Within days they were featured on the Today show too. That stunt cost them just a few thousand dollars and took mostly pluck rather than any careful strategy or planning: literally hours went into the effort. Yet it paid off. Sales jumped significantly after the Olympics and Yurbuds were on their way.

But that wasn’t the only memorable moment for the company. Seth also recounted how he managed to get his product into Best Buy stores. He told the audience about how he did some research on LinkedIn to identify several of the chain’s upper management. Then he sent them product with an introductory letter that was sent via overnight mail, set to arrive concurrently on Monday morning in their various offices. Sunday night he fired off a series of emails, letting the executives know his package was coming the next day. And then he doggedly started calling on Monday afternoon. Eventually he got a meeting, and within a few weeks he had the beginnings of a deal. The combination of contact methods is significant and was carefully orchestrated to get the right kind of attention, something that other startups can learn from.

Now they are on track to become the world’s most popular earbuds, and have the backing of one of the oldest and most established audio brands around. This is something to think about when you are contemplating your next move. At ITEN, we are proud of how we could help the company achieve its goals, and glad that they continue to be successful.

About David Strom

David Strom has been an ITEN mentor and member for six years and a nationally-syndicated B2B tech journalist who has written thousands of magazine articles and two published books on computer networking. He has spoken at numerous local and international tech events and lives in the Central West End. His blog is at www. and Tweets @dstrom