Audio-Tech Upstart Digisonic Closes Series A Funding Led by Makers Group

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Pioneer in digital signal processing, psychoacoustics and centerpiece of Korea’s digital content push. Funding accompanies agreements with Google and Korea’s Ministry of Culture.

Digisonic, a next-generation audio technology company, today announced closing of a Series A financing with Makers Group. The investment accompanies announcement of Digisonic as a national champion in South Korea’s digital content push and comes alongside agreements with Google and Korea’s Ministry of Culture.

Digisonic is a world leader in digital audio signal processing, psychoacoustics and 3D spatial audio technology. Founded as a research laboratory by audio engineer Jiheon Kim in 2015 and with backing from Korean internet giant Kakao and Seoul National University, the company has developed a range of audio technologies now being deployed into music, TV and film, gaming, real estate and healthcare industries. Among other products, the company provides software-based algorithms for the production of immersive, personalized 3D sound.

The company was announced by South Korean President Moon Jae-In in September 2020 as a centerpiece of the "Korea New Deal", a KRW160 trillion (USD146 billion) stimulus package focused on digital transformation of Korea’s economy and backing of the nation’s digital content industry.

The Series A investment is led by Robert Lepsoe of Makers Group, an accelerator for intellectual property assets. As part of the deal, a team from Makers Group will assist Digisonic on the commercialization of its technology and serve in an advisory capacity to the company. Members of the group include, among others:

  • Brian Cheng

Executive Director of NWS Holdings

  • Dick Cook

Chairman of Dick Cook Studios, Former Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios

  • Norman Cheng

Chairman of Typhoon Music, Former Chairman of EMI Music Asia Pacific

  • Rayvin Tan

Executive Director of Berjaya Group

  • James Rhee

Former Managing Director and Head of Internet Research, Bear Stearns Asia; and

  • Ian Stone

Non-Executive Director of Tencent

The financing comes alongside agreements with Google and Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to commercialize its technology. Proceeds of the financing will be used for expansion of the company’s delivery capability into the immersive media, smart device and healthcare industries.

In response to the company’s first international financing, Jiheon Kim, Founder of Digisonic remarked, “I am honoured to welcome individuals who have achieved the pinnacle of success in their industries and helped support giants such as Disney, Universal Music and Tencent from their early days. Their experience, network and personal involvement will be invaluable and I look forward to working closely with them as we move forward.”

Entertainment executive Dick Cook commented, “I applaud Jiheon Kim and his innovative team for their accomplishments. Digisonic’s unrivaled technology will be transformational for the media industry - whether for motion pictures, television, games or music. To deliver a life-like immersive audio experience is every creator’s dream and I am thrilled to be one of the first to bring this technology to our industry and audiences across the globe.”

https://english1.president.go.kr/briefingspeeches/speeches/884

About Digisonic

Digisonic is a leader in digital signal processing, psychoacoustics, and 3D spatial audio technology. The company was founded by Jiheon Kim in 2015 as a research laboratory in collaboration with Kakao and Seoul National University’s audio research laboratory (MARG) and commenced commercial operations in December 2019. The company has developed and patented a range of technologies for use in media, entertainment, transport, healthcare and other industries and seeks to use these technologies to uplift human experience and wellness.

About Makers Group

Makers Group is an intellectual property (IP) accelerator. Founded in 2020, the group delivers strategic investment, operating and commercial capacity to transformational IP and IP based enterprise.

About Kakao

Kakao is a mobile lifestyle platform company with services spanning messaging, mail, search, news, advertising, gaming, e-commerce, music, maps and more. Headquartered in South Korea, Kakao reaches consumers, businesses and others via its portfolio of popular assets: Kakao Talk, Kakao Game, Daum News and Daum Webtoon, among others. In line with the vision to “Connect Everything” Kakao plans to center its focus on creating an environment of real-time interconnectivity, thereby enriching lives and delivering value to consumers, businesses, partners and shareholders alike. The company, formed through the merger of Daum Communications and Kakao Corp in October 1, 2014, changed its name from Daum Kakao to Kakao on September 23rd 2015.

About Seoul National University

Seoul National University (SNU) was established in 1946 as the first national university in Korea. The current enrollment includes over 17,000 undergraduates, 11,000 graduates and 5,000 full-time faculty at a combination of 16 colleges, 10 research institutes and 1 graduate school located in Seoul, Korea. SNU has contributed significantly to Korea's spectacular economic progress in the twentieth century and spearheaded democratization efforts on the peninsula. SNU topped Reuters fifth annual ranking of Asia Pacific's Most Innovative Universities, which identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and power new markets and industries.

SNU’s Music and Audio Research Group (MARG) is an interdisciplinary research group focused on understanding and solving issues in human auditory perception and cognition. Utilizing tools such as deep learning and digital signal audio processing, MARG is pioneering research in areas such as auditory cognitive neuroscience, speech and emotion recognition, music cognition and sound therapy. MARG is led Dr. Kyogu Lee, a professor at SNU with a Ph.D from Stanford University in Computer-based Music Theory and Acoustics.

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Soobin Park
Makers Group
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