French startup Devialet has raised a new $50 million (€50 million) round of funding from two existing investors – Crédit Mutuel Equity and Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund – and a mysterious new Asian investor. Devialet does not want to reveal the name of this new investor. All I know is that it is an industrial company based in China.
This round of funding is relevant as startup funding in France has slowed in recent months – as in other European markets. The funding round is a traditional investment round in exchange for company equity – there is no debt component. Devialet doesn’t share the company’s valuation – but it is higher than the previous valuation.
In case you don’t know Devialet, the startup designs high-end speakers of all shapes and sizes. The company’s flagship product is the Phantom I speaker. With this egg-shaped speaker, Devialet’s engineering team promises no background noise, no saturation and no distortion thanks to its proprietary sound amplification technology.
The result is an extremely capable speaker that starts at $2,300. When you turn it on, it feels like a much larger speaker – it can be very loud. This speaker is also versatile as it supports AirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect and UPnP.
Over time, Devialet has expanded into other products and markets. In 2019, the company launched a smaller speaker, the Phantom Reactor, now called the Phantom II.
In terms of new product categories, the company has also released a pair of earphones and a soundbar for your TV. The company has set itself ambitious goals, especially with the Devialet Dione soundbar. There are probably more people looking to buy a home theater setup than audiophiles looking for speakers that cost thousands of dollars.
In addition to Devialet’s own products, the startup also has a licensing division for its audio technology and patents. In recent years, it has partnered with Sky, Iliad, Altice USA and Huawei to launch devices with Devialet-branded speakers.
With today’s funding round, the company plans to double its international markets and licensing strategy. For example, in the past three years, Devialet has opened six stores in China, five in South Korea, and multiple stores in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Three of the startup’s top five markets are now in Asia. While Devialet is a relatively niche brand, the company is seeing double-digit growth.
“Our continued partnership with both Crédit Mutuel Equity and Bpifrance demonstrates a clear confidence in our business strategy and in the truly unique technologies developed by our engineers,” Devialet’s CEO said in a statement. “In the meantime, the involvement of our new partners in the Asian market will be a significant benefit as we continue to expand our licensing strategy and provide ample opportunities to further expand Devialet’s presence in Asia.”
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