We talked about sales development with Oscar Xie, CEO and Founder of Robkoo. Meet the founder with an innovation empowers everyone to play music through APPs and gadgets that are intuitive and fun.

1. How would you describe your company in an elevator pitch?
Digital art crafting, sharing, and learning made easy. Robkoo empowers everyone to play music through APPs and gadgets that are intuitive and fun. Get rid of the noise issue, physical restrictions, and years of practice with our new form of musical instrument. Teach yourself with a delicate interactive course. Learn in minutes and gig in 2 weeks!

2. What are you the best at?
We are the best at bridging the gap between people with no knowledge in music and the actual music performing they have been dreaming of. That is accomplished in 2 ways:

The first way is to renovate the conventional instruments that have failed to get adopted by most people. I am talking about, sadly, all instruments. Learning an instrument was never easy. For example, the sound of acoustic instruments like guitar, piano, violin, and saxophone is hard to contain and may cause complaints from neighbors. One can choose to go to a park, but this is not always convenient, especially during the pandemic. Guitar learning gives you pain in the fingers, practicing an acoustic instrument drains your patience, and most digital instruments are not realistic enough…

You see, the list of hassle goes on and on. Therefore, we decided to create a new experience that retains the elegance of an acoustic instrument while avoiding the hassles. Wind Synthesizer R1 was born with an intuitive panel design, a slim and portable body, and visual effects. Due to its digital nature, you could practice in silence and access unlimited tones. Because it is only 425g, you can easily take it anywhere. With 2 giant RGB light bars, you instantly look and sound cool playing it. Music should be fun, and R1 is fun.

The second way is to extend the experience beyond the instrument itself. A delicate APP that offers full support is the new standard we set for the industry. An APP can help you tweak all settings on a much larger screen and access other cool features like custom light patterns. A fresher can also access interactive courses in the APP. Often, people try to add features to the product “itself,” but it might eventually push people away due to complexity. Using familiarity to approach the unfamiliar could benefit both developers and users. We see it as a trend in many hardware products these days. Thankfully we made R1 as a team with software roots.

3. How did you find your first customers?
As mentioned, we made software before. Therefore, we already had a fan base prior to the launch of R1. Let me tell you about the chain effect across our products until it comes to R1. Spoil alert: we paid 0 in ads!

One day I was in Beijing at 11 pm. I heard sounds coming from the metro station. I approached and met a guy in his 50~60s playing a Suona (like a Chinese trumpet). Why did he do it? Well, he had nowhere else to practice!

It helped me realize that I was not alone. I used to practice saxophone in my garage with mosquitos during summers. City life does not give people much freedom to seek such pleasure. I began to figure out ways that help ordinary people play music.

I crafted a small gadget that frees digital instruments from cables and sold dozens to enthusiasts in the internet forum during that time. Through connections with those people, I realized that Chinese users were tired of using software that was not made for them, which marked the beginning of our business and our most successful App, JamKoo.

JamKoo is an APP for digital instruments to access extra tones, record, and share tracks. We invited several core users for beta and served “the first 100 customers” well. They either came from the digital instrument community where I had my roots or were friends we made during product research. Over time, their word-of-mouth made our own community and sent us to the homepage of APP Store China over 20 times!

This community partially converted to the new R1 community, where we pre-sold 1,000 R1s last year!

In short, it began geekily, but the support from the community empowered me to turn it into a mission. One community lays an egg for another one. The underlying principle is that we always come to solve a problem, and we always keep some users as our close friends.

4. What are your customers saying about your product? 
They have a lot to say, but let me translate just a few:

“It is much easier to learn than my previous instruments. All you need to know is just a few notes. Spend some time with your breath and learn from the community, it only took me less than 2 months to perform songs. I will keep going.”

A retired lady in her 60s

“In all these years as a professional, I have been searching for a great digital wind instrument. When I saw R1, I thought to myself that this is it.”

A professional player from Netherland

“I did a lot of comparison. R1 caught my eyes for its industrial design, but I chose R1 for its inner quality!”

e-shop comment

5. What are your proud achievements so far? 
JamKoo APP being featured on Apple App Store 23 times, and “Apps of Today” featured. Being awarded and featured by the HUAWEI app store.

Successful pre-sell of 1,000 R1s, having been #1 on Tmall category rank from the 1st week of official selling. (Tmall is Taobao’s premium site)

R1 elected as “Audience Favourite Instrument” on music China Online Event 2022. (music China is the biggest instrument expo in China)

An experimental project, Swaying Tune, featured as “Apps of Today” by Apple.

And, of course, successfully keeping our users satisfied by listening to them and providing timely updates.

6. What is the next big thing in your industry?
The integration of hardware and software. Even before we began the R1 project, we had been approached by numerous established instrument brands, seeking more support from JamKoo for their products. It is gradually becoming a must for companies making digital instruments and will impact the design of instruments. We can expect to see digital instruments become self-sufficient but simpler, which is excellent for people who wish to learn.

7. What are your plans for the next 6-12 months?
We plan to sell R1 overseas. The level of anticipation from overseas was a surprise to us, and we have been receiving emails from KOCs worldwide. With their feedback, we are confident to fit R1 with the taste of overseas customers.

If you want your story about sales development featured please get in touch with Marcia Osundwa here.