Intel Capital led a $10 million Series B funding in
LISNR, a mobile audience engagement platform. Other investors in the funding included
Mercury Fund, Jump Capital and
R/GA Ventures. Intel made the investment from its Diversity Fund, which is targeting investing $125 million over five years in underrepresented entrepreneurs.
LISNR, the creator of SmartTones, a new communication protocol that sends data over audio, today announced that it has closed $10 million in Series B funding. The investment was led by Intel Capital; other participating investors included Mercury Fund, Jump Capital and R/GA Ventures.
“We’ve earned huge industry awards and launched exciting client partnerships over the past few months,” says Rodney Williams, CEO of LISNR. “This round of funding is all about adding fuel to the momentum we’ve built in the market. The funding will allow us to continue to build out our leadership team while further accelerating our customer acquisition efforts.”
LISNR technology uses proprietary inaudible sound waves called SmartTones to connect devices. It works like existing technology protocol Bluetooth, except LISNR uses sound waves and does not require hardware or maintenance. Williams says LISNR has advantages over Bluetooth because it requires very little battery use and also boasts synchronization with a device in less than one-eighth of a second. Additionally, because the technology uses sound that you can’t hear, LISNR leverages existing hardware and network of audio that’s everywhere around us. This “speakernet” or “The Internet of Sound,” as Williams puts it, gives LISNR the ability to leverage a massive, existing network that’s all around us. “Anywhere there is a speaker or has the ability to broadcast audio, LISNR has the ability to turn that object or media into a data transmitting medium.”
As more devices come to market capable of being always on, always listening, data-over-audio communications will continue to accelerate. Williams felt Intel Capital was the right lead investor for the company’s growth. “Wearables, the Internet of Things and the connected device industry are only going to accelerate, and we want to be a leader. To do that, we felt Intel Capital and the syndicate we assembled were the right investors to help us scale in those markets.”
“Our investment in LISNR is the latest investment from Intel Capital’s Diversity Fund, which was announced earlier this year,” said Lisa M. Lambert, managing director and vice president of Intel Capital. “LISNR’s innovative technology solutions work seamlessly across physical and digital spaces and provide compelling use cases around location-based and connected services. Not only does LISNR’s technology align with our focus on new devices and the Internet of Things initiatives, but its team represents the next generation of diverse and talented entrepreneurs that are solving the needs of a diverse public and shaping the innovations of tomorrow. Rodney is an exciting new breed of African American entrepreneur, having been recognized by Jet magazine as one of their “Top 40 under 40” and having been invited this year to a demo day at the White House with a diverse group of entrepreneurs.”
The investment was announced at the Intel Capital Global Summit in San Diego and was made from Intel Capital’s groundbreaking Diversity Fund, which is dedicating $125 million over five years to underrepresented entrepreneurs and which is led by Lambert.
LISNR has recently positioned itself for even more growth by adding depth to its executive leadership team. Eric Allen, former senior vice president & GM at Sony Gracenote, joined the company as President, and Mick Suh, former P&G executive and sales leader at Coupons.com, joined the company as Chief Revenue Officer.
The company continues to accumulate awards and accolades including being recently named #12 on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list. LISNR won a Gold Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity, and was featured as a finalist for Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards. LISNR also won the SXSW Vision to Venture competition and was named Digiday’s Best Content Marketing Platform for 2015. The company was honored with a Webby Award for the second straight year. Most recently, LISNR was named to Cisco’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program for Internet of Everything companies.
LISNR is off to a good start, but when asked about its place in the market Williams responded, “Frankly we’re just starting to scratch the surface of how data-over-audio communication technology can be used. Sports teams and broadcasters are using our technology to connect with fans and deliver amazing second screen experiences, brands are connecting with customers in-store and online at the same time. There are countless applications still to be developed that will transform how each and every person connects to each other and the environment around them.”
LISNR is the creator of SmartTones, a new technology that sends data over audio. LISNR uses an inaudible digital sound file to turn any device into a beacon. LISNR gives brands and content creators a platform that delivers second-screen experiences and proximity-based messaging. For more information, visit lisnr.com.
About Intel Capital
Intel Capital, Intel’s strategic investment and M&A organization, backs innovative technology startups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting computing and smart devices, cloud, datacenter, security, the Internet of Things, wearable and robotic technologies and semiconductor manufacturing. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested nearly US$11.6 billion in over 1,400 companies in 57 countries. In that timeframe, 213 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world, and 377 were acquired or participated in a merger. Through its business development programs, Intel Capital curates thousands of meetings each year between its portfolio and Intel’s partners in the Global 2000. For more information on what makes Intel Capital one of the world’s most powerful venture capital firms, visit intelcapital.com or follow @Intelcapital.
About the Intel Capital Diversity Fund
The $125 million Intel Capital Diversity Fund was established in June 2015 and invests in technology startups run by women and underrepresented minorities. Investments cover a broad spectrum of innovative industries.