Groupe Renault and Newfund are investing in the startup Akoustic Arts to accelerate the development of its on-board directional speakers
- Groupe Renault and the fund Newfund announce their investment in the French startup Akoustic Arts, specialized in directional sound.
- This agreement paves the way for Renault and Akoustic Arts experts to collaborate on the integration of innovative directional speakers into Renault vehicles.
- This project is part of Groupe Renault’s strategy which aims to offer new connected services and to improve its customers on-board experience.
Groupe Renault and Newfund have announced their investment in the startup Akoustic Arts, specialized in directional sound, in order to accelerate its growth and enable it to pursue the wide-scale development of its products.
This investment goes with an agreement between Groupe Renault and the young company to carry out a shared development project focused on adapting the Akoustic Arts technology for Renault vehicles.
Akoustic Arts, created in 2010, has developed a unique, patented ultra-directional sound technology. The content is projected through the air, creating a private bubble of sound that only the target user hears. In this way, the technology can provide several distinct immersive experiences for different people at the same time.
As part of this collaboration, Renault engineers will share their automotive expertise as well as their suppliers and industrial tools, while Akoustic Arts experts will provide their technology and savoir-faire in directional sound. After an initial R&D phase, the project will focus on the development of on-board directional speakers for the brand models. Products aimed at the post-sales network will also be considered.
“We are delighted to be investing in the young company Akoustic Arts alongside Newfund. Together, we will create innovative on-board directional speakers in order to better meet the expectations of our customers. For Groupe Renault, the on-board audio experience is a differentiating factor, especially with the development of connected and autonomous vehicles and future on-board editorial content,” said Gaspar Gascon Abellan, Deputy Alliance Engineering Executive Vice President.
“After this initial phase devoted to the development of our ultra-directional sound technology, Groupe Renault and Newfund’s equity participation in Akoustic Arts will be a powerful driver of acceleration. The synergy between these two players will allow us to reach our shared objectives. The first is to revolutionize the in-store experience with our A speaker; the second is to develop a product for the automotive market by drawing on the incredible expertise of Renault's teams,” said Ilan Kaddouch, CEO of Akoustic Arts.
“Akoustic Arts has developed a unique technology that already perfectly meets the need for sound technology in public spaces - notably in the retail industry - through its first product, the A speaker. This capital injection will enable the team to continue to win over new customers on this priority market, and to rapidly develop a product adapted to vehicles, with the help of Groupe Renault. We are thrilled to participate in this project,” said Ivan Michal, Partner at Newfund.
About Groupe Renault
An auto manufacturer founded in 1898, Groupe Renault is an international corporation with a presence in 134 countries and sales of 3.76 million vehicles in 2017. Today, the company comprises over 180,000 employees, 36 manufacturing sites and 12,700 points of sale throughout the world. To meet the major technological challenges of the future while continuing to pursue its profitable growth strategy, the Renault group is focusing on international expansion. To this end, it is drawing on the synergies of its five brands (Renault, Dacia, Renault Samsung Motors, Alpine and LADA), electric vehicles, and its unique alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi. With a new Formula 1 racing team, Renault is leveraging motorsports to drive innovation and boost brand awareness.
About Akoustic Arts
Akoustic Arts is a startup specializing in the field of acoustics and founded by Ilan Kaddouch. 150 years after the invention of the loudspeaker, which sends sound out in all directions, and after five years of research and development, Akoustic Arts developed its unique and patented ultra-directional sound technology. The unique hardware design of the speaker combined with a powerful software (the U.D.S.T), makes it possible to turn typical audio content into ultra-directional sound. The speaker projects the audio content in the air and creates a tunnel that contains the sound. Only the targeted user can hear it. Even if the uses and benefits of this technology are infinite, Akoustic Arts is focusing on two high value-added markets.
An initial product, the “A” speaker, is sold on the point of sale market. Listening to a sound produced by the “A” speaker is like wearing an invisible headset; only you can hear it. Outside of this bubble, the sound fades out as if by magic. It is therefore now possible to create several distinct immersive experiences at the point of sale, for maximum consumer enjoyment. The second market is the automotive industry, which Akoustic Arts will address in the coming years in collaboration with Renault.
Founded in 2008 by François Véron and Patrick Malka, Newfund is an early stage investment fund of €230 million. The management team comprises eight professionals, including a partner in Silicon Valley, California. Newfund has 60 active holdings, including Aircall, Tiwal and FlexyBeauty. The fund has overseen some fifteen launches including Medtech SA, Camping&co, MonBento and Jobijoba.
More information can be found at www.newfundcap.com