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Saturday 23 August 2014

Bono's Elevation firm takes a punt on Sonos speakers

Nick Webb

Published 15/06/2014 | 02:30

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I love your early work: Bono waves to Angela Merkel and Herman Van Rompuy. Photo: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

U2 frontman Bono may be set for another massive technology score, as wireless speaker maker Sonos takes off.

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Bono is a partner in US venture capital firm Elevation, which has backed Facebook, Yep and other tech groups.

It has also invested in Sonos, which saw revenues double to $535m (€395m) last year.

The San Francisco firm, founded in 2002, allows users to wirelessly stream music from dozens of online services including Pandora, Spotify and iTunes. Elevation invested in the company in 2012 as part of a funding round that raised $145m. Investors included private equity titan Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Redpoint Ventures.

The company was blasted into public consciousness with a high-profile ad during the superbowl earlier this year.

Elevation also invested in the US business magazine group Forbes. It was put up for sale last year, with Chinese conglomerate Fosun International widely seen as the front runner in a deal.

It is thought that the media group could sell for around $250m – less than originally thought. Elevation paid $240m for a 45 per cent stake in the company back in 2005.

Elevation partners have been extremely active in recent months, following a splurge of deals during the early days of the web 2.0 boom. Earlier this year, the venture capital outfit was part of a group that ploughed $17m into native advertising start-up Sharethrough. The other investors included Silver Creek, North Bridge and Floodgate

Last month TPG Growth appointed Bono and The Edge to the board of iconic guitar maker Fender.

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