These days, there are headphones for all occasions and personality types — from big muffs with curly cords to peanut-sized bluetooth pods.
Add one more to the lineup – bone conduction headphones that don’t actually go in your ears. That’s the primary product of AfterShokz, an East Syracuse, New York, company that’s relocating its North America headquarters to Austin.
The company, which plans to have 40 employees in its first year in Austin, will put its new HQ in a building at the Domain. But while that’s being set up, the company will operate out of WeWork University Park through March next year. It plans to have a local team of 85 by the end of 2021.
AfterShokz headphones transmit sound using bone conduction. Instead of going in your ears, the headphones rest on the bone in front of your ear. That allows better situational awareness than, say, over-ear noise-cancelling headphones that can make you more or less oblivious to the audio world around you.
As such, the headphones are primarily marketed for people who run, work out in the gym and are otherwise active in situations where you might need to hear the world around you.
The company, founded in 2011, says it sold 1.5 million wireless headphones last year.
AfterShokz also makes water-proof versions of their headphones. And, earlier this year, it launched OptiShokz, which are bone conduction audio sunglasses.
AfterShokz’s relocation to Austin comes amidst a flood of companies establishing North American headquarters, relocating their global headquarters or otherwise relocating to Austin. Last year, the Austin Chamber of Commerce logged 46 relocations. Generally, the companies come for tech and finance talent in the area — as well as relatively low cost of living, especially for folks relocating from big cities on the East or West Coasts.
“AfterShokz is a fast-growing company, and we needed to find a city for our corporate headquarters that could support the expansion of our brand,” Kimberly Fassetta, CMO of AfterShokz, said in a news release. “Austin’s energy, culture, talent pool and community of leading technology innovators and thriving outdoor brands are what drew us to the city.”