One startup, one story: what if your smartphone could DJ?

How a wireless portable fader is revolutionizing the art of turntablism. Let’s meet DJiT.

Jean-Baptiste Hironde liked to unwind after a hard day at university by spinning some tunes in his bedroom. He was frustrated by two things: the decks took up a lot of space, and the equipment was more complicated than it needed to be.

This is where his idea of creating a startup began. Determined to develop a better system, Jean-Baptiste sought the help of his best friend Nicolas Dupré, who eagerly joined the adventure. In 2012 they launched edjing, a DJ app that enables anyone with a smartphone or tablet to mix anywhere for free. Available on iOS, Android and Windows, edjing has become the world’s most downloaded DJ app with 45 million downloads.

However, Jean-Baptiste still wanted to create something extra for turntablists, who liked the sound experience but felt they lacked touch and control.

Enter the Mixfader, a wireless portable fader that can be used with traditional vinyl as well as smartphones and tablets via a dedicated app, edjing Scratch.

The crossfader is the central part of the mixing deck that allows a DJ to switch progressively between two pieces of music. Mixfader preserves the feel and grip of regular faders, whilst opening up new creative perspectives for the art of turntablism to DJs, whatever their level.

Presented at SxSW 2015 as part of the “La French Tech” delegation, the Mixfader prototype created a huge buzz with media interest from 30 countries. The presentation video got more than two million views in 48 hours. Moreover, famous “French Touch” ambassadors – part of the French DJ movement that brought us Daft Punk – such as C2C contacted DJiT to congratulate them for this breakthrough innovation.

Feeling encouraged and hopeful of capitalizing on this enthusiastic response, DJiT launched a Kickstarter campaign – and sold €110,000 of Mixfaders in a single month! The first deliveries were made in April 2016.

Not only is the Mixfader vastly cheaper at €129 than mixing decks costing thousands, it also enables urban DJs to mix in the streets, on rooftops – or just about anywhere. Those already championing the device include DJ QBert, the inventor of scratch, and 9 O’Clock, a three-time winner at the DMC World DJ Championships.

The Mixfader can now be found in some of Europe’s chicest department stores, such as Galeries Lafayette in Paris and London’s Harrods, and will shortly be available in the United States and China.

After raising US$2.6 million in its first funding round since 2013, the company is set to expand rapidly, which should lead to the Mixfader appearing in a lot more stores. New investors include XLR Capital, France’s public investment bank Bpifrance, Jean-Charles Carré (David Guetta’s manager), DJ Martin Solveig, and Stéphane Bohbot, the founder of Innov8 Group, a leader in retail 2.0 and connected devices.

If you’d like to know more about startups in France, click here to read the new Business France book about 35 success stories.

If you’d like to find out more about technology and startups in France, click here.

 

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