The Echo Nest Raises Over $17 Million in New Financing to Bring Big Data to Music
Financing to fund continued international sales growth and product development in understanding “musical identity”
SOMERVILLE, MA, July 12, 2012 -- The Echo Nest, the world’s leading music intelligence platform, has closed a $17.3 million financing round led by Norwest Venture Partners. Prior investors Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Fringe Partners, Jim Pallotta and board member Michael Brown also participated in this round. The Echo Nest plans to use the funds to support continued sales growth, international expansion, and new product development. The company is also announcing major additions to its Fanalytics listener data platform in pursuit of even better understanding of music.
The Echo Nest established itself as the leading music big data company by providing open, API-based access to the largest repository of dynamic music data in the world, with over one trillion data points. Its tools enable media companies and independent developers to build intelligence about music content and music fans into applications to make them more engaging. In addition to a growing community of over 15,000 application developers, The Echo Nest has established a customer list that includes industry leaders such as Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, eMusic, MOG, Spotify, Nokia, the BBC, and VEVO.
This latest round of funding will help The Echo Nest further strengthen its market-leading position with a focus on international sales and marketing. The financing will also support continued development of "Fanalytics": data-driven solutions to help leading media companies better understand music fans.
The Echo Nest is announcing two product enhancements to Fanalytics. First, Taste Profile Similarity is a new data service that gives applications and music services the ability to connect like-minded fans by determining their overall musical compatibility within a larger group. It represents an enhancement to The Echo Nest's Taste Profiles, a web service that builds in-depth preference profiles of every music fan on a given service based on each fan’s music collection, listening behavior, and other factors.
The new Taste Profile Similarity service has a wide range of applications that go well beyond streaming music, with the rise of “social discovery” and other social media applications. One early, real-world example of Taste Profile Similarity in action can be found on the blog of Paul Lamere, Director of Development of The Echo Nest (http://musicmachinery.com).
Second, the company is offering a sneak peek into its work in "affinity prediction" -- how music preference is predictive of other media preferences and psychographic attributes. As one example of the many applications of this, The Echo Nest demonstrated a predictive correlation between musical activity and political affiliation. More detail is available in a blog post published today by the Echo Nest’s CTO Brian Whitman (http://notes.variogr.am).
"We are thrilled to add Jeff Crowe and Norwest to The Echo Nest team." said Jim Lucchese, CEO of The Echo Nest. "Norwest immediately recognized the enormous opportunity around applying a big data approach to music -- particularly in how understanding each online consumer's musical identity can enable a new world of deeply-personalized, social, and profitable applications. In addition, the firm brings a depth of experience in helping data-driven companies define and dominate their respective markets."
"The Echo Nest has distinguished itself as the clear market-leading data company focused on the most pervasive form of entertainment consumption: music," said Jeff Crowe, Managing Partner at Norwest Venture Partners. "We are very excited about the company's business model of exploiting the data opportunity around music consumption, the team’s excellent progress in inking a steady stream of industry-leading customers, and the large market opportunity in understanding digital consumers' musical identity on a mass scale."
"More than any company I've seen in the last few years, The Echo Nest has done a terrific job of taking the core principles of the analytically-driven, successful web companies — big data processing, machine learning, and cutting edge information retrieval — and applied it to the digital music domain with a fury that has built a strong business that has everyone talking," added Antonio Rodriguez, General Partner at Matrix Partners and The Echo Nest board member.
"It is an exciting time to be working with The Echo Nest," said Elliot Katzman, General Partner at Commonwealth Capital Ventures. “Their customers integrate The Echo Nest’s innovative music intelligence platform into their own cutting-edge applications to enrich the listening experience of over 100 million fans every month. The company has continued to make excellent progress since our initial investment in 2008, and we are looking forward to even more exciting developments ahead."
About The Echo Nest
The Echo Nest powers smarter music applications for leading media companies and thousands of independent developers, with a customer base that reaches over 150 million music fans every month. Over 340 applications have been built on The Echo Nest platform. With the world’s only machine learning system that actively reads about and listens to music everywhere on the web, The Echo Nest opens up the largest repository of dynamic music data in the world – over 5 billion data points on over 30 million songs -- to help developers re-shape the experience of playing -- and playing with -- music. A four-time National Science Foundation grantee, the Echo Nest was co-founded by two MIT PhDs. Investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, and three co-founders of MIT Media Lab.
About Norwest Venture Partners (NVP)
Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a global venture and growth equity investment firm that manages more than $3.7 billion in capital. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, NVP has subsidiaries in Mumbai and Bengaluru, India and Herzelia, Israel and Hong Kong. NVP makes early to late stage venture and growth equity investments across a wide range of sectors including: information technology, business services, financial services, infrastructure, technology enabled services and consumer. NVP has actively partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for more than 50 years and has funded over 500 companies since inception. For more information visit: www.nvp.com.
About Matrix Partners
Matrix Partners is a premier venture capital firm that has generated outstanding returns for more than three decades. By focusing on early-stage investments and emphasizing long-term relationships with entrepreneurs, the firm has delivered several of the industry's top performing funds of all time. Matrix Partners has offices in Cambridge and Waltham, MA; New York, NY; Palo Alto, CA; Mumbai, India; and Beijing and Shanghai, China. Matrix Partners has invested in several game-changing, industry-leading businesses such as Apple Computer, Gilt Groupe, JBoss, Netezza, Phone.com, Polyvore, Starent Networks, Sycamore Networks, Veritas, Zendesk, and Zong.
About Commonwealth Capital Ventures
Commonwealth Capital Ventures (Waltham, MA) is a venture capital firm focused on software and software-based services, Internet and digital media, communications technology, and instruments and systems investments in the northeast United States. The firm’s collaborative investment approach leverages the entire team’s venture and operating expertise, experience, and contacts to guide portfolio companies through all stages of their development. Since its inception in 1995, Commonwealth Capital has invested in more than 140 high-growth companies. Commonwealth currently manages over $580 million of committed capital across four funds. For more information, please visit www.commonwealthvc.com.