French startup Devialet has raised a new $50 million (€50 million) funding round from two existing investors — Crédit Mutuel Equity and Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund — and a new mysterious Asian investor. Devialet doesn’t want to share the name of this new investor. All I know is that it’s an industrial company based in China.
This funding round is relevant as startup funding has slowed down in recent months in France — like in other European markets. The funding round is a traditional investment round in exchange for equity in the company — there’s no debt component. Devialet doesn’t share the company’s valuation — but it’s higher than its previous valuation.
If you’re not familiar with Devialet, the startup designs high-end speakers of all sizes and shapes. 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 distorsion 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.
When it comes to new product categories, the company also released a pair of earbuds and a soundbar for your TV. With the Devialet Dione soundbar in particular, the company has ambitious goals. There are likely more people who want to buy a home cinema 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. Over the past few years, it has partnered with Sky, Iliad, Altice USA and Huawei to release devices with Devialet-branded speakers.
With today’s funding round, the company plans to double down on international markets and its licensing strategy. For instance, over the past three years, Devialet has opened six stores in China, five in South Korea and several 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 reporting double-digit growth.
“Our continued partnership with both Crédit Mutuel Equity and Bpifrance shows a clear confidence in our business strategy and in the truly unique technologies that have been developed by our engineers,” Devialet CEO said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the participation of our new partners in the Asian market will be a considerable asset as we continue to build out our licensing strategy, and will provide ample opportunities to further build Devialet’s presence in Asia.”