Audioboo, the Twitter-for-audio, closes first major round

Audioboo, the ‘Twitter for Audio’, has closed its first major funding round, having ridden out a “monthly cash crisis”, the company tells TechCrunch Europe.

And while the actual amount of new funding isn’t being disclosed, we’ve learned that it’s somewhere in the region of £1.5m.

Audioboo’s investors now include Channel 4’s digital media fund 4iP, which provided the UK startup’s initial funding which will be converted in to equity, along with UBC Media (an existing Pro customer), Imagination Technologies (owners of PURE Radio and who have both Apple and Intel as backers), and angel investors including Qualcom’s Sir Don Cruickshank, who will become Audioboo’s new Chairman.

Audioboo founder and CEO Mark Rock calls the funding “very strategic”. But it’s notable that no venture capital fund, which Audioboo would have talked to, decided to participate. However, having UBC Media on board, which is heavily into radio production, and Imagination, who’s PURE division is into radio technology, means Audioboo “can rapidly experiment and develop our ideas about how audio content will function, feel and make money in the future,” says Rock.

Audioboo’s mobile and web platform, which in part competes with another UK company, ipadio, enables users to easily capture and share audio (primarily spoken word) via the web and iPhone/Android apps. The platform also supports posting to Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

Its users include the likes of Stephen Fry, BBC Radio, The Guardian, British Army and The Labour Party – and, now and again, TechCrunch Europe. Along with a free version, Audioboo offers a paid-for version which is licensed by The Royal Opera House, British Library and Open University, among others.

While Hossein Yassaie, CEO, Imagination Technologies, adds: “Audioboo is exactly the kind of innovative technology in which the UK excels and we are delighted to be involved both as an investor and as a partner. There are clear synergies between Audioboo and Imagination, via PURE, our world leading radio brand, and we are confident that we will continue to work as both an investor and partner to ensure Audioboo achieves its potential.”

Imagination Technologies’ investment also sees Audioboo and radio maker PURE sign an agreement to “begin work on launching a new enhanced Audioboo service on a number of PURE’s internet connected radios.”

The company has also announced that Bruce Akhurst has joined as Chief Commercial Officer and will sit on the Board. Akhurst co-founded One2one (T-mobile UK) and has held senior positions at Orange and Vodafone.