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27 May, 2015 - 11:06 By Tony Quested

$5m funding target for jukebox in the Cloud

Psonar headphones

Psonar, which is pioneering technology described as ‘the jukebox in the Cloud,’ is planning to raise around $5 million in early 2016 as it accelerates plans for worldwide expansion.

As part of the initiative, the company has just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to raise at least £250,000 as part of its current round of up to £1m. This follows a successful first close of just over £300,000 last autumn, which was Psonar’s second successful crowd funding.

Founder Martin Rigby revealed that the London Co-investment Fund has committed to invest up to £100,000 as a match against investments from individual investors on Crowdcube.

The Crowdcube campaign has already raised more than half the target figure of £250k and with more than three weeks to go to deadline looks set to handsomely overfund.

This is the final angel round planned by Psonar which anticipates raising an A round of c£3.3M ($5m) in early 2016 based on the roll-out of mobile operator partnerships currently in the pipeline – two in the UK and one in SE Asia. 

The latter MNO is part of an international telecoms group with mobile operator subsidiaries in half-a-dozen Asian countries. The group sees the excellent fit between Psonar’s PAYG music service and the purchasing habits of its predominantly PAYG users and is looking to roll out Psonar PAYG music across all its subsidiaries.

Psonar is a jukebox in the cloud. Play the music you want to hear from as little as 1p/1c/1€c per track. You can also give gifts of tracks, albums and playlists to friends so they can listen for free.

Rigby told Business Weekly: “The Crowdcube raise is over 50 per cent funded two weeks into the six week campaign and we’re hopeful of getting into overfunding which tends to accelerate the rate of investment. The commitment from the London Co-investment Fund is excellent.

“We’ve got three mobile operator partnerships in the planning stage, with the first of these likely to go live in September – that one is in SE Asia while the others are in the UK. 

“It seems as though the Psonar story around PAYG music streaming is really beginning to get traction now. Worldwide over 75 per cent of mobile users are on pre-pay (PAYG) and these are the music fans for whom Psonar is the prefect fit.

“We believe we offer value for money, great user experience, with chart and other high popularity music, but without either annoying ads or a commitment to expensive subscription streaming.”

The company currently has nine people in the executive/development team and what Rigby calls “some pretty active non-execs as well.” They include including Scott Cohen, co-founder of The Orchard – the world’s largest digital music distributor and a major figure in the international music industry. 

“That’s a great endorsement for what we’re trying to do,” said Rigby who is now the only Cambridge-based member of the team. As it has evolved, the development team is spread across Europe with Richard Urwin (CTO) based in Berlin and clusters of the team in east London and Brighton.

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