Analysis

Sonos raises $130m more funding as hi-fi space heats up


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232484313Connected audio firm Sonos has raised $130m of new funding, according to an SEC filing first reported on by TechCrunch. Although the company isn’t commenting yet, the new round will take its total funding so far to around $455m.

“So big that probably no one but Google or Apple could afford to acquire it,” suggests the report. “Considering Apple’s personal audio buyout of Beats’ headphones business, and Google’s invasion of the smart home, either could be a smart alternative to an IPO for Sonos.”

The funding is the latest sign of Sonos’ ambitions to go beyond a stereogeek’s niche and become a mainstream consumer product, taking with it into the living room its various streaming-music partners.

The last two years have seen the launch of more affordable Sonos kit, improvements to its controller apps for smartphones and tablets, and the removal of the need for a “bridge” device to make its multi-room systems work. Oh, and a noticeable increase in marketing budget for products that a couple of years ago were still under-the-radar for mainstream music fans.

The $130m funding round gives Sonos more heft at a time when competition is coming from all quarters: from traditional high-end hi-fi makers with their own digital partnerships; from devices made by the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple that provide another route into the living room for streaming services; and from gadgets like Gramofon and Beep that connect up older stereos.

Sonos is undoubtedly one of the pioneers in this field, but when landgrabs heat up, pioneers don’t always come out on top. But pioneers with $130m of cash to splash likely have a better chance.

Stuart Dredge

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