Groupe Renault and Newfund, a France-based venture capital firm, have announced their investment in a French startup called Akoustic Arts that is specialised in directional sound. The investment is intended to accelerate the startup company’s 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’s 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.
Through 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.
Gaspar Gascon Abellan, Deputy Alliance Engineering Executive Vice President said, “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.”
Ilan Kaddouch, CEO of Akoustic Arts said, “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.”
Ivan Michal, Partner at Newfund said, “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.”