Amazon, China invest in piezoelectric microphone pioneer

Amazon, China invest in piezoelectric microphone pioneer

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The round was led by Accomplice, a Boston-area venture capital firm focused on early-stage technology companies. Vesper also received an investment from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, AAC Technologies, Hyperplane, Miraenano Tech, XinGang Electronics and other undisclosed investors.

The Alexa Fund is a $100 million fund set up by Amazon to further the use of voice as primary user interface to electronic equipment. AAC Technologies is a microphone vendor based in Shenzhen, China.

“We will use our new capital to launch more broadly, in response to the enormous customer demand that we have experienced. We also plan to develop second-generation products, and we will expand operations and distribution,” said Matt Crowley, CEO of Vesper, in a statement.

Vesper, previously called Baker-Calling and Sonify, is a University of Michigan startup founded in July 2009 to develop piezoelectric MEMS microphones. The company claims its piezoelectric MEMS sensing is to be able to reduce the noise-floor compared with conventional capacitive sensing technology. This has also enabled the company to develop rugged and wake-on-sound microphones for smartphones, hearables, Internet of Things and connected cars. The microphones can work underwater and in dusty environments, the company said.

“We’ve invested in MEMS for a long time, and Vesper is the fastest MEMS company to go to production in history,” said Jeff Fagnan, founder and general partner at Accomplice, in the same statement.

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