Bigger sound in smaller packages, as Sonos buys Mayht for $100M

It’s only been three months since I wrote about Mayht‘s cool solar-powered speaker prototypes and interviewed its founding team. It looks like the Dutch startup also caught the eyes of smart speaker company Sonos, because they just went ahead and acquired the company for approximately $100 million in what appears to have been a cash-only deal.

Mayht created a new type of speaker technology that makes it possible to pack a lot more oomph into much smaller spaces, with power savings as a nifty side-effect. Specifically, it created a new type of transducer — the foundational element within speakers that create sound. Mayht has re-engineered them to enable smaller and lighter form factors without compromising on quality.

I spoke to the team during CES earlier this year, and it was demoing its speaker tech alongside Sonos speakers. The startup’s speakers were blasting the room with delicious, high-quality sound. The comparison they were using as a reference was a Sonos speaker. It seems like the age-old saying “If you cant beat them, acquire them” struck again.

“We can finally show our technology in many different kinds of applications, from soundbars to small subwoofers to small voice assistants speakers, which we believe will disrupt the markets because if, say, an Echo Dot can have the same sound as the Sonos One, or a soundbar, without requiring a subwoofer… It makes a big change in the market,” Matthias Scheek, Mayht’s CEO, told me earlier this year.

Turns out he was right. Interestingly, outside of some reference speakers, the Mayht team was never planning to put its own products out to market, clearly flirting with existing speaker giants for an acquisition. Sonos liked what it saw and decided to put a $100 million ring on it to consummate the relationship, acquiring the startup. The acquisition was formally announced today.

“Mayht’s breakthrough in transducer technology will enable Sonos to take another leap forward in our product portfolio,” said Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos. “This strategic acquisition gives us more incredible people, technology and intellectual property that will further distinguish the Sonos experience, enhance our competitive advantage, and accelerate our future roadmap.”

The Mayht team, in turn, was also pretty psyched to find a corporate partner to bring its tech to market.

“We are very excited and proud to become a part of Sonos,” said Scheek. “Our dream has always been to set a new standard in the audio industry. The integration of our technology into Sonos products will further revolutionize high quality sound.”

The acquisition makes a lot of sense in the context of what Sonos has been doing over the last couple of years. The company has been pushing towards making speaker tech smaller, lighter, and more portable. Smaller, lighter speakers also means the tech can be built into more interesting enclosures, as the company has been demonstrating with Ikea over recent years, including the Symfonisk speakers, and the way-cooler-than-it-has-any-rights-to-be picture frame speakers.

The companies are tight-lipped about additional details, but Sonos hints that it will share more about its plans in its earnings call in May.