Specdrums was founded in 2016 by Steven Dourmashkin (MEng ‘15, ‘15) and Matthew Skeels (‘16). Dourmashkin’s frustration regarding the lack of accessibility and affordability of full drum kits led to the founders’ creation of wearable rings, which make music when you touch a surface. Tap anything with color, and the Specdrums will make a color-specific sound or pitch.
Specdrums started as a side project targeting the drummer market. Once the founders joined eLab, however, they were instructed to focus on customer development, which helped them realize they should branch out and create a design that more people were interested in. eLab also connected Dourmashkin and Skeels with other entrepreneurs and mentors in the Cornell network.
Additionally, eLab contributed to the credibility of Specdrums. Thanks to eLab, Dourmashkin and Skeels took on mechanical engineers as volunteers to help grow their company. In addition, eLab pushed them to keep developing and progressing by setting goals with deadlines.
Since their time in eLab, Dourmashkin and Skeels have continued to grow Specdrums. They raised nearly $200,000 through crowdsourcing, and the first version of Specdrums has already sold out.
This early success brought Specdrums to the attention of Sphero, a company focused on joining play and STEAM learning. According to Sphero CEO Paul Berbian, the acquisition of Specdrums will help them strengthen the “A” for art in STEAM and “continue to inspire curiosity in classrooms and beyond.” Sphero intends to integrate Specdrums’ ring and color system into other proprietary toys as well. Overall, Sphero plans to pivot from its current focus on robotics to a focus on education.
Thanks to their new relationship with Sphero, Specdrums anticipates an increase in reach across the world. Keep an eye out for the second version of Specdrums rolling out in 2019. We look forward to seeing where Specdrums will go with the new guidance of Sphero!