Direct Investments

Acoustics firm raises £2.8m to revolutionise in-car sounds systems

Warwick Acoustics – the Midlands-based company which aims to disrupt the delivery of entertainment within the next generation of electric vehicles – has raised £2.8m from existing shareholders including Mercia Asset Management, and a small number of high net worth investors.

The funds will enable it to capitalise on commercial progress made over the last year and accelerate development of its first in-car systems.

The company’s ElectroAcoustics Panel (EAP) system delivers not only a step change in acoustic performance over existing audio systems but also major reductions in weight and power consumption – key requirements for all battery-powered vehicles. Meanwhile the low-profile nature of panels, plus the ability to build them in a variety of shapes, provides designers with a unique tool to style differentiated ‘customer experiences of the future’ – visually as well as acoustically.

In the last 12 months, the company has achieved a number of major development milestones including successfully demonstrating for the first time operation of a full system within a vehicle, completing three customer-funded proof-of-concept projects and passing a number of key automotive environmental tests.

Warwick Acoustics is renowned worldwide for its personal and studio headphones. Since the launch of its latest premium electrostatic headphone system, the BRAVURA, in September, orders have already exceeded the initial production run and the product, like its two stablemates,  has already received a number of awards and glowing media reviews.

Established in 2002 as a spin out from the University of Warwick, Warwick Acoustics has grown dramatically in the last two years. It now employs 30 people at its headquarters at Mira Technology Park in Nuneaton and supplies the audio industry across four continents with its exclusive personal audio systems.

Mike Grant, Chief Executive Officer at Warwick Acoustics, commented: “I am delighted by the progress that the company continues to make.  As we have been developing our in-car solution, we have always been highly confident that we could replicate the globally acclaimed acoustic performance of our award-winning headphone systems in vehicles. However, the reaction we have had from our customers to the first completed automotive systems over the last few weeks has exceeded our highest expectations.

“These milestones provide further evidence of the potential of EAPs to deliver a paradigm shift in in-cabin acoustic experiences, not just within Electric Vehicles but across the eMobility sphere. This investment is testament to the confidence our major stakeholders have in the potential of the business.  We are excited by the opportunity to build further on our achievements to date.”

Mercia, which first backed the company in 2013, invested £1m in the latest funding round, from both its direct investments and managed funds. Following the investment, Mercia holds a 35.8% direct equity stake in Warwick Acoustics, with its third-party managed funds holding 0.45%.

Mark Payton, Chief Executive Officer of Mercia, commented: “We must pay testament to the exceptional progress all at Warwick Acoustics have achieved in what has been an excellent last twelve months. The business has achieved a number of significant milestones in short order, and we’re excited by the potential of its products in both the automotive and personal audio markets. The remarkable growth of Electric Vehicles, with a focus on building more efficient vehicles centred on cabin design and driver experience, bodes well for Warwick Acoustics going forwards.”