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Sonarworks: personalised sound

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“We built everything from the ground up. Most of this stuff has never been done by anyone else, and nobody else is trying to do it either,” says Helmuts Bems, co-founder of Sonarworks, a Latvian audio tech company on a mission to bridge the gap between sound creators and listeners.

“Essentially we make sound personal,” Helmuts adds. “It’s about using data technology and machine-learning to better understand the end-user and tailor the sound accordingly. Within minutes, we will find a better sound for 82% of people.”

These individual preferences/differences are related to factors like age (hearing loss), gender (men typically have larger ear canals), geography or music taste. The company’s patented data-driven technology can be used across multiple devices and platforms. Clients range from the B2B side, like sound engineers, artists, producers, creators and other professionals, to the consumer-side, like manufacturers of electronic devices that will integrate the technology into their product. “A bit like Intel Inside,” Helmuts explains. “Today, over 70,000 recording studios globally and 100,000 consumers use our technology. But we’re expecting a lot of growth in the consumer space, with contracts for over 1 million devices already signed.”

In this process of growing the consumer side of the business, Sonarworks received an equity investment from Karma Ventures, a venture capital firm backed by the EIF. “We were looking to raise extra funds because we were about to start growing our consumer-side journey and needed to build consumer products. The funds went mainly into R&D and product development,” Helmuts explains. “Research is very important in this kind of work and these investments in earlier stages allows us to offer jobs that are better paid and bring in higher calibre people. That can make all the difference.”

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Sonarworks is riding the digitalisation wave that is taking over the audio industry as it shifts from analogue to digital. “If you look at devices that play the sound back to you, they’re still fundamentally analogue hardware devices. But more and more they’re becoming digital. Once you digitalise devices, you have new capabilities. With processing power, we can change the way sounds sound and with digital technology, sound performance isn’t fixed to the hardware any more and you can really change it,“ he adds.

Company: Sonarworks (Riga, Latvia)

Type of business: ICT, audiovisual

Financial intermediary: Karma Ventures

EIF financing: Baltic Innovation Fund - BIF, own resources

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Latvia, please refer to:
http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/lv

 

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