W Power 2024

Navajith Karkera and Jagath Biddappa: Delivering eargasms

The winners of the consumer tech category began with experiments for hearing implants, then innovated Sonic Lamb, and now their journey has brought them to the SoundTech accelerator programme by Sound Hub Denmark

Rajiv Singh
Published: Feb 20, 2024 01:33:03 PM IST
Updated: Feb 20, 2024 01:44:24 PM IST

Navajith Karkera and Jagath Biddappa: Delivering eargasms(left)Navajith Karkera, Co-founder & CEO, Rapture Innovation Labs and Jagath Biddappa, Co-founder & CTO, Rapture Innovation Labs Image: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan For Forbes India; Outfit: Samyakk; Styled By: Esha Kothari; Assistant Stylists: Kaveri Halder; Hair And Makeup: Krishnastudio

Navajith Karkera | 28
Co-founder & CEO, Rapture Innovation Labs
Jagath Biddappa | 29
Co-founder & CTO, Rapture Innovation Labs

Rhyming words sound similar. Right? Take, for instance, class and mass. But can rhyming words also mean the same? No. How can ‘sarcasm’ be equivalent to ‘orgasm’? But here’s where mechanical and electrical engineers come into the picture, and make the impossible possible. Navajith Karkera and Jagath Biddappa claim they know a word which not only rhymes with ‘orgasm’ but also means the same.

“It’s called ‘eargasm’,” smiles Karkera, a mechanical engineer who as a child exhibited electrifying engineering quality and had a penchant to rip apart household electronics. “And you can feel eargasm through our headphone Sonic Lamb,” says Karkera, adding that his father was so fed up with the freakish mess engineered by his younger avatar that he gifted his son an electronics’ learning lab on his 12th birthday. The story of how a child who was destined for electrical engineering ended up studying mechanical engineering is fascinating.  

Eargasm, Karkera underlines, is the ultimate listening experience and pleasure to the ears. Eargasm, the mechanical engineer lets on, is not just top-notch audio quality but also the impact and influence of getting lost in the music and the way this connection transforms, heals, motivates and gives immense pleasure. “Sonic Lamb offers the perfect conduit between people and music in order to deliver this eargasmic experience,” he says.

Co-founded by Karkera and Biddappa in 2018, Rapture Innovation Labs—the maker of Sonic Lamb headphones—has an interesting beginning in helmets. During their grad years, the engineering duo experimented with hearing implants and worked on audio communication interfaces for safety helmets that used bone and skin to reproduce sound instead of ears. During early 2019, the friends decided to reinvent their technology and integrate it into headphones, resulting in the development of the patented hybrid driver technology, which combines air and body conduction to allow listeners not just to hear music but also feel it on the headphones.

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“That’s how Sonic Lamb was born,” says Karkera, adding that it is one of the seven startups globally selected for the SoundTech accelerator programme by Sound Hub Denmark, the world’s largest international sound technology and innovation hub. Rapture is backed by Deshpande Startups, National Institute of Design, T-Hub, SINE IIT-B and SoundHub Denmark, along with a bunch of angels.

But can a high-tech quality product take on cheap headphones in India by a bunch of players who are largely Chinese copycats and play on affordability? Sonic Lamb is not a price warrior—the headphones carry a price tag of ₹15,999—and therefore may have a niche appeal. Karkera, for his part, believes that the startup has a fitting chance to make it big. Over the past decade, he underlines, the audio industry has shifted its focus from improving audio quality and enhancing the listening experience. “At Sonic Lamb, we are committed to bringing the focus back to sound and we are redefining the very method of reproducing audio,” he adds.

Navajith Karkera and Jagath Biddappa: Delivering eargasms

The backers are excited about the prospects. “The fact that they sought guidance from the Sound Incubator from Denmark to fine-tune and bring a world-class product to the market goes to show their passion and focus on excellence,” says Ratish Pandey, former general manager at Bose Corporation. “The product is going to be a winner.”

(This story appears in the 23 February, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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