Business Irish

Saturday 3 December 2016

Nolan, Turleys among backers of Soundwave

Investors left with 'smiles on their faces', Soundwave CEO Brendan O'Driscoll tells Gavin McLoughlin

Published 24/01/2016 | 02:30

The Turley brothers, who founded CarTrawler, were backers of Soundwave. Photo: Fennells
The Turley brothers, who founded CarTrawler, were backers of Soundwave. Photo: Fennells

Hostelworld co-founder Ray Nolan and the Turley brothers, who founded CarTrawler, were backers of Soundwave, the Irish startup that has been acquired by Swedish music streaming giant Spotify.

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Soundwave boss Brendan O'Driscoll (28) would not reveal the price paid by the music streaming service for his company but said he and the company's backers were left with "smiles on their faces". Other investors included Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, U2's former manager Paul McGuinness, ACT Venture Capital, and Enterprise Ireland.

Soundwave makes an app that tracks people's music listening habits and suggests music based on the tastes of friends or people that users follow. O'Driscoll said there was no "real first contact" when it came to suggesting the Spotify deal.

"As a by-product of what we do as a company, we've had relationships with all the various different streaming services from day one...we've always had very strong relationships with those guys," he said, speaking exclusively to the Sunday Independent.

"The big differentiator that everyone is looking for in music streaming right now is around music discovery and curation, so I suppose there was a natural blend from our original relationship with those guys to then start discussing those guys taking our technology exclusively and using that to bolster their offering."

He would not comment on whether other services like Deezer or Apple Music made an offer to buy the company.

"We found ourselves having a competitive offering at a time when big companies were competing against each other for differentiation, so we were right in the middle of all that...it's a massive outcome for us, something that we're hugely proud of," he said.

The company's existing team will transfer to Spotify. Asked if he would look to start another venture, O'Driscoll said: "My foreseeable future is definitely continuing the mission. We don't feel the job is done just yet and we think that this deal unlocks massive opportunities to get a lot further to our goals than we thought previously possible.

"Who knows what happens down the line, but I've a very keen interest in startups, a very keen interest in technology, and I think there's an awful lot of problems there to be solved, but right now we're still very much intrigued by trying to solve this problem, and we've just inherited a whole bunch of interesting new teammates and resources.

"It's business as usual for us, we set up with a mission of trying to develop technology that would enhance music discovery, and now we're just getting the opportunity to do that at a much bigger scale than we'd ever have been able to do independently.

"The acquisition of Soundwave will help Spotify to enhance the overall consumer experience on Spotify," the Swedish giant said, in a statement in which it also announced the acquisition of voice messaging service Cord Project. "Spotify is laser focused on delivering innovative and engaging music discovery experiences to delight our millions of users," said Shiva Rajaraman, Spotify's VP of product.

Sunday Indo Business

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