AudioBoo Lands Funding, Partners, Radio Deals

Sound recording service AudioBoo seems ready for its first big tilt at making itself in to a real business, having secured a first venture funding round in a deal that brings on significantly relevant new audio technology partners.

The first-round funders are previous backer 4iP, radio tech developer UBC Media, chip licenser and Pure DAB maker Imagination Technologies (in which Apple owns a stake), plus angels including former Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) chairman Sir Don Cruickshank, who is becoming AudioBoo’s chairman. No amounts disclosed; Update: UBC alone says it bought an 18 percent stake.

4iP, whose commissioner Dan Heaf has been nurturing London-based AudioBoo as one of Channel 4’s biggest investments, had previously given two amounts, which it is now converting to an equity stake. AudioBoo first partnered with UBC when it bought eight licenses for the tech in October.

AudioBoo will now seek partnerships with its new stakeholders. One already confirmed is an “enhanced” version of AudioBoo that is planned for addition to some internet radios in Imagination’s Pure line-up.

Bruce Akhurst, who has held director roles with several telecoms companies, is also joining as chief commercial officer – underlining what, after a year of tentatively gaining popularity, now looks like a more concerted business effort from AudioBoo.

A large-scale business model still seems misty. AudioBoo has found sales of pro accounts, with extra features, to radio or media companies to be slow going. Addition of audiobooks, which the company has wondered about, has not yet come to anything.

The investment partner line-up may suggest there’s at least as much value in the service’s intellectual property being exploited as technology inside other services. Recent upgrades have introduced recording not just from mobile apps and phone calls but from web upload and email.

AudioBoo developer BestBefore Media, which was already developing video and audio tools for TV broadcasters when it began experimenting with AudioBoo development, has spun the company off to concentrate on becoming a business of its own.

These videos from nearly a year ago give more info on the service’s origins and possible future directions at the time…