On Tuesday, Doppler Labs announced it raising of $17 million through Series B round of funding led by The Cherin Group, David Bonderman’s Wildcat Capital Management and Acequia Capital. It had other participants like Live Nation Entertainment, Universal Music Group and WME in this funding round.
Founded in 2013, the startup Doppler Lab aims to create wearable technology that makes computing more immersive and human. In a simpler version, Doppler Labs is focused on building ‘hearables’ wearable technology for the ears. The first product from the 2-year old company was its $25 Dubs, which specialized in moderating concert-level music volumes. Till date, the company has sold more than a quarter million DUBS units. The new Here system introduced this June through the Kickstarter program has made more than $650,000 for pre-orders of its $249 product.
Noah Kraft, CEO and co-founder of Doppler Labs said, “We started Doppler Labs less than two years ago with a vision of creating a new kind of immersive wearable tech. We are humbled and elated by the response from media and consumers after unveiling the Here Active Listening System and by the support we have received from investors. We envision a post-mobile future where all people use a computer, speaker and mic in their ears to enhance how they interact with each other and their environment, and we work every day to create products that move us closer to achieving that vision.”
Fritz Lanman, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Doppler Labs added, “Here is just the tip of the iceberg. The Here Active Listening System is our first step towards creating true ‘bionic hearing.’ Giving you full control over how you hear the world is an innovation in and of itself, but more importantly, Here allows us to build a foundation to create tech that could transform the people interact with sound forever.”
The Here Active Listening system makes use of two wireless buds and an app through smart phone to offer the users with the tools to personalize any live audio environment in few seconds. Here’s volume slider, EQ, pre-sets and effects to transform real world audio for regular situations like concerts, airplanes, sporting events or simple decrease the volume in professional setups to reduce the unnecessary noises surroundings.
“The biggest challenge is combining very sophisticated software with very sophisticated hardware, ” said Lanman. “The adaptive filtering engine and compression engine we are developing is something no one has ever done before, and from physics perspective, we have to achieve sufficient power and computational resources at a size and price point that is reasonable to the consumer.”
With the new funds and the successful Kickstarter campaign, the startup intends to bring in more resources to accelerate development of technology and launch more products on a quicker basis. It has roped in some new talent which includes former Senior Director of Product for the Nike FuelBan Kennard Neilson, who was also leading the product design team of Amazon for the earlier generations of the Kindle Fire. The company also brought in human resources from Google’s Nest Labs and Interlink Electronics. With forty-seven employees including thirty engineers, the startup headquarters is currently put up in New York and San Francisco with the full pledged R&D facility in Camarillo, California and a separate manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China.