Naver has selected its first European start-up to invest in, French audio technology company Devialet.
The Korean search engine operator announced on September 29 that it will jointly make a strategic investment in Devialet with Korelya Capital, a French venture capital fund run by Fleur Pellerin.
In September, Naver invested funds in Korelya Capital’s K-Fund 1. With the upcoming investment in Devialet, the company has made the movement to expand into the European market in earnest. Established in 2007, Devialet is a Paris-based start-up acclaimed for its high-end sound and speaker technology.
Making use of its self-developed Analog Digital Hybrid (ADH) amplification technology, Devialet realizes the high-end sound quality with its differentiated compact device instead of existing large amplifiers and speakers, leading the global sound technology industry. Moreover, it has strategic investors such as Foxconn, which acquired Sharp, Renault-Nissan, expanding its business areas from home speakers to producing industrial speakers installed in televisions and cars
For the latest investment, Devialet has raised a total of 100 million euro (US$105.83 million or 124.19 billion won) from global firms, including Foxconn and Renault-Nissan, and individual investors, like Andy Rubin, who created Android operating system, and American rapper Jay-Z, as well as Naver and Korelya Capital.
In addition to the financial investment, Naver plans to work together with Devialet on various areas that can create a synergy.
Naver CTO Song Chang-hyun said, “In the upcoming era of artificial intelligence, speakers will not only play the role of simply delivering sound but will also be a core device that connects AI and human beings. As an IT company, Naver is preparing for AI, and that is why we saw Devialetm which is emerging as the most innovative company, as a good strategic partner.”