Jerry Harvey, founder of Jerry Harvey Audio, which was recently named one of GrowFL's Companies To Watch for 2016, started designing and soldering in-ear monitors while touring with Van Halen in the 90s and grew his company to dominate the custom in-ear monitor market, with 80% of top touring artists using his inventions. Jerry Harvey Audio also produces the top selling earphone costing more than $500 in Asia.
"We innovate and design in-ear monitors and high end earphones for rock stars and audiophiles," Harvey said. "We're a custom fit company that also has taken our high end designs and put them into universal fit earphones. I bring more than 25 years of audio engineering and theory to in-ear monitors. Using that knowledge, I took the concept of large format PA systems in arenas and miniaturized them. In the process of innovating, I have been awarded about 15 patents."
Jerry Harvey Audio is Harvey's second entrepreneurial venture in the audio space. His first venture, Ultimate Ears, was sold to Logitech then Harvey launched Jerry Harvey Audio. "I took on a venture capital investor at UE and we didn't see eye to eye on the vision for the company," he said. "Ultimately I was forced out which left me with some unfinished business. Jerry Harvey Audio was launched somewhat out of necessity because we had bills to pay, but I also wasn't finished with my innovations. I had so many designs in my head that I wanted to bring to market."
Being recognized by GrowFL as a Company To Watch makes Harvey feel a bit like a fish out of water, but in a good way. "It’s a privilege," he said. "And not to sound corny but it's an honor because it is rare that a small business with a rock background is recognized with some of these other companies that are more corporate. I'm not a businessman. I'm an audio artist."
In fact, had it not been for Harvey's CFO and daughter Jaime Harvey-Penrod, the company would not have been recognized at all since she was the stimulus for applying. "Since I was little I have always wanted to work with my dad and help him realize his vision," she said. "It‘s so much fun to go to concerts, see our products on stage in the musicians' ears.” When I was introduced to GrowFL, I knew we needed to apply because it would be a great venue to promote the brand in both the manufacturing space and Florida as a whole."
Harvey's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to pick your market carefully, follow your passion and surround yourself with the right people. "I like niche markets that are immature so I can help grow the market rather than going in and taking market share," he said. "It's got to be something you're passionate about. Things get tough and there are ups and downs. If you are not passionate about what you are doing, then you're not in the right business. Also, don't be the smartest person in room. Understand where your strengths and weaknesses are. I have narrow skill set and that’s why I surround myself with people who have skillsets I don't have."