Merus raises cash for audio amp roll out
Merus Audio AS (Herlev, Denmark), founded in 2010 to develop audio amplifiers based on a Class-D architecture, has raised €2.2 million (about $2.35 million) in a series B round of financing.
The company’s technology is claimed to offer energy efficiency in a compact space making its audio amplifiers suitable for both home electronics wireless speakers and sound bars as well as for use in mobile electronics. The company launched its Eximo audio amplifier architecture in 2013 and has been sampling devices for over a year.
"The new investment allows to us boost our effort in getting to market efficiently and ramp to mass production," said Hans Hasselby-Andersen, founder and CEO of Merus Audio. The will be used to help Merus take its MA12040/MA12040P and MA12070/MA12070P amplifiers to mass production.
These amplifiers offer up to 40W and 70W of output power per channel, respectively and are being aimed at home audio products, ranging from soundbars, home theater and stereo systems to the wide, fast-growing range of wireless enabled speakers.
The funding will also help with the development of audio amplifier ICs intended for portable electronics including smartphones and laptop and tablet computers. "This is in the conceptual stage, but we expect early silicon also in 2015," Hasselby-Andersen told eeNews Europe in email.
The funding round was lead by Capital-E, a leading European venture capital fund with a focus on microelectronics and advanced materials. Capital-E is joined in the round by existing investors VF Venture, the venture arm of The Danish Growth Fund, and a group of private investors.
It brings the total raised by the ten-person company to about €5.7 million (about $6 million). Hasselby-Andersen, declined to say where Merus would be getting its amplifiers made but told eeNews Europe in email: "We are using a foundry in Asia and we designing in a state-of-the art BCD process."
Merus utilizes a unique amplifier topology to achieve energy efficiency. When combined with an advanced digital power management scheme the amplifier operates with low power losses at any audio playback level, the company claims. Compared to conventional amplifiers, the technology also reduces the need for large and expensive components and thereby enables extremely compact single-chip amplifier solutions.
"We see a lot of interest across applications, but it’s especially significant in the growing market for battery-powered speakers – mostly Bluetooth, but also Airplay. A key driver behind the interest is the fact that the battery is a major, if not the largest, single BoM [bill of materials] cost element in these products, so being able use a battery of one half or one third the capacity simply gives a significant BoM reduction opportunity in a very cost sensitive application. Some manufacturers want to use the better energy efficiency to differentiate their product, by offering longer battery life without having to use a bigger and more expensive battery," Hasselby-Andersen said.
"The company has developed a well-patented breakthrough technology with clear USPs for its customers in a market that is quickly evolving and fast growing. We expect the company to change the dynamics of the market and see quick growth over the next couple of years," commented Marc Wachsmuth, who will join the board of Merus Audio as representative for Capital-E.
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