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VisiSonics seeks $750K in angel funding for new product

VisiSonics Corporation is seeking $750,000 in its first round of funding from angel investors so the College Park startup can launch its first software product, RealSpace, by the fall. 
 
VisiSonics produces software and hardware to improve the sound spatialization, or three-dimensional perception, over headphones and on smart phones and tablet devices.

Last year, the company changed its business direction to focus on developing and marketing its software, which CEO Ramani Duraiswami says is a bigger market compared with hardware.
 
The software, for mobile and consumer electronics, is currently in a testing stage. The goal is to make it easy-to-use and more efficient for consumers and potential industry clients like the gaming industry.
 
“Customers want better audio and music on their portable devices. Our software can be programmed into any device to make it full and rich,” says Duraiswami.
 
Founded in 2009, VisiSonics is a spinoff from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is located on the College Park campus’ incubator, the Technology Advancement Program.
 
The company originally focused on special hardware, called an “audio camera,” to capture sound, with accompanying software to analyze the sound for a variety of uses. The hardware captured sound in already-existing spaces like classrooms, concert halls, stadiums and work environments.
 
Duraiswami says the company had over $500,000 in sales of hardware, from customers like the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Stanford University and the US Naval Research Laboratory.
 
“If they were designing a concert hall, for example, the hardware would determine if and where the sound was appropriate,” says Duraiswami. “It helped customers to characterize the sound environment.”
 
Last month, the Baltimore-based University of Maryland Ventures chose VisiSonics as the first winner of a newly created Start-Up Prize to help startups commercialize their products.
 
UM Ventures is the first joint partnership between the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, College Park. The UM Ventures prize is intended to bring innovative technologies to the market.
 
James Hughes, director of UM Ventures and president of Research Park Corp. says the criteria for the Start-Up Prize is a combination of the potential impact of the startup’s technology and how far the startup has come since founding, especially in the last year. VisiSonics was a semi-finalist in this year’s Investment Maryland Challenge.
 
Hughes says the prize will be awarded annually and with a dollar amount at least equal to the $5,000 VisiSonics received. VisiSonics also received a $75,000 loan from the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) for commercialization.
 
VisiSonics has six full- and part-time employees. It is looking to hire up to four staffers, in software and business development, this year.
 
Sources: Ramani Duraiswami, VisiSonics; James Hughes, University of Maryland Ventures
Writer: Barbara Pash
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