Munich Startup: Who are you and what does Kekz do? Please introduce yourselves!
Kekz: With its wireless headphone system for kids, the Munich startup Kekz is revolutionizing how kids consume their favorite audio content on the go. Kekz relies on an intuitive design that allows preschool kids to determine what music and stories they want to hear – without any distractions, monitors or external audio sources. With a simple plug-and-play mechanism, the Kekze chips attach to the outside of the ear piece with magnets, and this triggers the audio content. We, Carl Taylor and Adin Mumma, founded Kekz in 2020 in Munich and already won the German Design Award in 2021.
In recent years, Carl Taylor was responsible for brand and media partnership at Sony Music Entertainment. As product manager, he supported bands like Die Fantastischen Vier, Silbermond, Clueso and Joe Cocker along their careers. The business administration graduate and passionate marathon runner lives with his family near Munich.
Adin Mumma is an American industrial designer and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in production for international brands and retailers. Many of his award-winning designs can be seen at large retailers and in museums. Adin’s pieces are both whimsical and minimalist at the same time, which creatively challenges the status quo. He now lives with his family in Munich, where he founded his design firm Muemma GmbH in 2014.
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Kekz: Kekz solves a problem for both kids and their parents. With our headphone system, we want to make it possible for kids to easily decide what stories and music they want to enjoy – without needing their parents’ tablets or smartphones and without any distracting touchscreens or unnecessary control elements.
No registration, internet connection or downloading
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Kekz: With a simple plug-and-play mechanism, the Kekze chips attach to the outside of the ear piece with magnets, and this triggers the audio content. The plug-and-play mechanism looks familiar at first, but there are some important differences compared to similar systems. For example, the content isn’t stored on the Kekze chip. The entire audio catalog that’s available is already preinstalled on the headphones. When the chip connects with the headphones, its decodes the corresponding audio content that’s stored on the headphones. That means, while driving to a vacation destination, parents could potentially just buy a new chip at a gas station, attach it to the headphones and you’re all set. Activating a Kekze chip doesn’t require registration, an internet connection or even a one-time download.
Munich Startup: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Kekz: The biggest challenge in the beginning was moving away from our own comfort zone of having a permanent job. Beyond that, we are extremely grateful to have such an amazing team who optimally supports us in dealing with every challenge that comes along with starting a company, developing a new product, registering patents, financing, communication and so on.
No need to look any further than Kekz by Christmas 2021
Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?
Kekz: By Christmas 2021, anyone looking for a Christmas present for kids will not have to look any further once they find Kekz. We’re working non-stop so we’ll be able to fully satisfy the demand that we’re already experiencing now with the market launch in the middle of next year. In the next five years, Kekz should be a household name in the German-speaking world when it comes to kid’s entertainment for on the go and at home. And that’s why we’re already working on strong strategic partnerships and want to have also recorded our first international success.
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Kekz: That really isn’t a matter of subjective assessment. According to the latest EY Startup Barometer, Bavaria gained serious momentum as a location for startups and quadrupled its investment volume just in the first half of 2020. So in that sense, we very much feel that we are in good hands in the Bavarian startup landscape.
Munich Startup: Beach or mountains?
Kekz: The ocean in front of us and the mountains behind us.