Austrian MEMS speaker startup raises $30m

Austrian MEMS speaker startup raises $30m

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Usound in Graz, Austria, has raised $30 million (€25 million) to move into mass production of its second generation MEMS loudspeakers for several global companies.

The investment round was led by Austria’s leading venture capital firm, eQventure, with participation from venture capitalists Hermann Hauser (co-founder of ARM) and Longzhong Yang (co-founder of BYD), as well as a strong participation from the European Investment Bank. This brings the total investment in the company to over €68m. 

The USound MEMS piezolectric speakers take up 50 percent less space and use 80 percent less energy than traditional loudspeaker designs for TWS earphones, headphones, smartphones, VR/AR glasses, wearables, and hearing aids. The speakers can be assembled using surface mount SMT reflow, enabling fully automatic assembly of audio products to achieve the highest quality and performance. In comparison to a pure monolithic MEMS solution, USound uses 3D system in package (SIP)  technology to combine the MEMS speakers with audio processing for higher sound pressure levels, better sound quality and lower manufacturing costs.

This is a key technology for smart glasses that are set to replace traditional smartphones. Companies and investors are positioning to enure they have the supply chain for these lightweight devices with small size, long batery life and manufacturability.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of our second-generation MEMS loudspeakers that will further extend our product portfolio. With the steady growth of customers,  USound is further extending the manufacturing network that already includes STMicroelectronics for the first generation of MEMS loudspeaker and TSMC (Taiwan) for the ASIC Audio Amplifier.  Collaborating with world-leading manufacturing companies, enable us to increase production volume, be more efficient, and improve the logistics process to reach our global customers,” said Ferruccio Bottoni, Chief Executive Officer at USound.

USound is developing and manufacturing MEMS-based audio products for several international companies, including MEMS microspeakers for global TWS earbud brands, hearing aid companies like Shenzhen Magnet Technology, augmented reality glasses with MEMS audio for a major technology company, and in-ear health monitors for HMS. USound is also deploying its MEMS speakers in audio glasses such as Fauna (hown above).

USound’s second generation MEMS speakers offer full support for spatial audio and withstand water submersion of up to 3m. This was developed with the support in part of a E2m grant from the European Commission’s Horizon2020 program.

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