Horizons Ventures backs ROLI

ROLI has received an undisclosed investment from Horizons Ventures. Based in London, ROLI is a music tech company.


October 8th, 2014 (Shanghai, China)

London based design-led music technology company ROLI, developer and producer of the multiple award-winning Seaboard GRAND, today announced a Series A follow on round of $3.7m (£2.3m). The new investment comes just months after ROLI raised a $12.8m (£7.6m) Series A investment, one of the largest ever for a music hardware company, led by Balderton Capital, alongside FirstMark Capital, Index Ventures, Universal Music Group and a number of high profile individuals, including Richard Chen of Ceyuan Ventures. Joining this follow-on investment is Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures, a fund started by the Li Ka Shing Foundation that has had extraordinary success backing leading global technology companies, including Facebook, Spotify and Skype.

Excitement surrounding ROLI has been gaining momentum in recent months, with Seaboards being shipped around the world to rave reviews, and Founder and CEO Roland Lamb being honoured for his contribution to the design world with the Swarovski Emerging Talent Medal at London Design Week.

Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman is one of a number of high profile artists to start using the Seaboard, while Dream Theater’s Grammy-nominated keyboard virtuoso Jordan Rudess has described discovering the Seaboard as “…the most important musical life-changing event since my first synthesizer.”

The team in East London has increased from 3 people two years ago to over 50 current employees, with staff also based in the Far East and New York. Production and recruitment continues to increase in line with the demand for the flagship product, the Seaboard GRAND.

Speaking from Shanghai, where he is due to present the Seaboard GRAND at TechCracker, Lamb said, “We are absolutely delighted with this continuing support and to welcome Horizons Ventures on as a new investment partner. The Seaboard, as an evolution of the piano, is a universal musical instrument and thus has a global marketplace. No one is better placed than Horizons to help us expand our operations in Asia as we work to ensure that the Seaboard and our future products are available in the increasingly culturally important centres of the Far East.”

Horizons’ participation in the round will further cement ROLI’s global presence in Asia, helping not only to expand into the largest global market for digital pianos, but also to support research into alternative strategies for the production of the in-demand “piano of the future”, which is currently made in a railway arch in East London. ROLI will be actively developing key artist and brand partnerships in the region and exploring opportunities to establish a global supply chain to streamline manufacturing and ultimately make its products more accessible.

Frances Kang of Horizons Ventures said “ROLI has provided us with a new way for music to be made and perceived. The team will undoubtedly become a global leader in music technology. We are very excited to be part of ROLI’s continuing success and to be able to both facilitate and accelerate their global expansion.”
As well as speaking at TechCracker Shanghai on 9th October, an event dedicated to inspiring change and new ideas in the technology sector, ROLI will also attend Music China, Asia’s largest music industry conference.

About ROLI
ROLI is a design-led music technology start-up based in Dalston, London. ROLI makes hardware and software products designed to increase the bandwidth of interaction between people and technology.

ROLI’s first product, the Seaboard GRAND, is a radically new musical instrument that reimagines the piano keyboard as a soft, continuous surface. The Seaboard’s polyphonic pitch bend, vibrato and per note dynamic changes are all available at the user’s fingertips, marrying the intuitiveness of a traditional instrument with the versatility of digital technology. ROLI has brought together years of innovation in several disciplines to realise this powerful concept as an award-winning product.

Learn more at roli.com

About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures is a venture capital firm started by two Hong Kong women as a personal investment vehicle. It is the common investor behind a parade of success stories in global high technology, including Skype, Facebook, Spotify, Waze, Siri, DeepMind and Summly. www.horizonsventures.com

About Techcracker
Techcracker is dedicated to inspiring change and new ideas in the technology, commercial and educational sectors. Jointly-organised by the Li Ka Shing Foundation, Horizons Ventures, NUS Enterprise and Vertex Ventures Holdings, the event aims to empower a community of like-minded individuals to build a more sustainable and responsible future, encouraging these greater communities to explore new ways of tackling existing problems.