French internet and luxury royalty invest 15 million € in hi-fi startup Devialet

Look at the names investing in this French hifi startup: Xavier Niel (Kima Ventures, Iliad), Jacques-Antoine Granjon (the founder of Vente Privée who looks like he’s in a hard rock band), Marc Simoncini (Meetic) and Bernard Arnault (mister LVMH himself) pumped 15 million € into hifi startup Devialet. Devialet was founded in 2007, and builds hifi hardware for the connected age, or as they call it: wireless high end audio.

Niel, Granjon, Simoncini and Arnault will invest 3 million each, with the other 3 million invested by the investors who already financed two rounds for Devialet in 2010 and 2011 for a total of 2,9 million €.

Devialet: a 12 000 € amplifier (but it sounds REALLY great)

At the moment, Devialet sells only one product: a 12 000 € ampliefier, the D-Premier, with patented tech developed by Pierre-Emmanual Calmel and offering exceptional sound quality. To date, 1300 of the devices were sold. Devialet expects to have revenue of about 4 million € this year.

The goal is to now miniaturise the device, and make it easier to produce (the D-Premier has 2500 components), and to also bring the same kind of innovation to loudspeakers. After additional R&D and engineering, the company hopes to have a product “made in France” that it can sell for about 1000 €.

Apparently, it was Meetic founder Marc Simoncini who fell in love with the D-Premier and rounded up his exclusive co-investors. In an interview with Les Echos, he is quoted as saying: “I had the same shock as when seeing the first Macintosh in 1984. I think Devialet might do for sound what Apple did for IT.” (If you look at the packaging in the photo above, it’s quite clear that Devialet has looked very closely at how Apple markets its products.)

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault was brought on board by Xavier Niel, because of his knowledge of the luxury segment. Apparently Arnault benchmarked the D-Premier against a much more expensive American brand before deciding to invest.

The smaller version of the D-Premier should come to the market in four years.

via Devialet, la pépite hi-fi française, lève 15 millions auprès d’actionnaires VIP, Actualités.

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).