Urban Vinyl: The Sound of Success

by Abigail E. Peck

Azusa Pacific University cultivates more than relationships among its students; it also fosters partnerships. Seth Fontaine (attended 2015) and Christian Sanchez ’17 first met at APU more than a year ago, hit it off, and soon began dreaming of starting a business together. With an entrepreneurial background and experience working for a company that sold headphones, Sanchez envisioned starting his own high-quality headphone business. Fontaine’s enthusiasm for the idea proved to be the spark Sanchez needed. The friends embarked on a journey together, creating Urban Vinyl and winning Zuventurez 2016, APU’s annual startup pitch competition.

Sanchez and Fontaine imagined vintage style headphones that offered superior audio at a reasonable cost. Their business was born through trial and error as the two tested six different headphone designs in search of the highest quality. They finally decided on beautiful sapele wood for the earcup, enamored by the exceptional sound deliverance it provides.

After a year of product development, the duo recruited fellow APU students Reef Coleman (attended 2015), Chase Molenaar ’20, and Carlos Mendoza ’18 to join their team. To further build the business, they signed up for APU’s version of “Shark Tank,” Zuventurez, and benefited greatly from the guidance of one of the program’s professional mentors, Janice Orlando, a local angel investor and adjunct professor in APU’s School of Business. Weekly sessions with Orlando proved invaluable in moving their business forward. Their passion and hard work paid off. Urban Vinyl pitched their startup to the Zuventurez judges, and won first place, among 35 entries, receiving $15,000 and a continued relationship with Orlando.

In its fourth year, APU’s Zuventurez is a 10-week program, offered each fall, that supports emerging entrepreneurs by offering a platform to create and test business plans and pitch them to top-level professionals and venture capitalists. The program pairs participants with Kingdom-focused business leaders who understand what it means to build businesses with a solid foundation. This year’s event, held Tues., Nov. 15, drew an audience, double the size of last year, to watch the final pitches in Upper Turner Campus Center.

“APU created Zuventurez, to inspire the good that can be found when today’s entrepreneurs turn their focus toward Kingdom values, the pursuit of excellence, and a commitment to bottom line sustainability,” said Jay Sherer, director of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“My advice for future Zuventurez participants is to put in the hard work. Even knowing it is going to be difficult, it will always be harder than you think,” said Fontaine. “Don’t give up and you will continue to learn as you go.”

As Urban Vinyl grows, its goal is to develop meaningful relationships and find ways to give back. They have partnered with the Children’s Music Fund, an organization that provides music therapy to terminally ill children. By hosting an annual concert to raise funds for this cause, they are able to make a difference in the lives of others.

To learn more about Urban Vinyl and their products, visit their website here, and receive a discount by using the code: APU

Abigail E. Peck '18 is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a public relations major and leadership minor.