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iZotope, Photoshop for sound, closes another $7.5M in financing

TechCrunch TechCrunch 23/06/2016 John Mannes

What does the trailer to Inception, a re-mastered Rolling Stones record, and the podcast Serial all have in common?

They’re all awesome. Their creators also all used iZotope products in the background to make them shine.

iZotope, started by a group of MIT undergrads in 2001, hustled their way on the competitive music scene by first releasing a free plug-in of a record simulator. Development went into overdrive in 2013 when the company closed its first $12 million round of venture capital. Today the company is announcing another $7.5 million in financing, with $2.5 million in venture funding from ABS Capital and individuals and a $5 million debt facility from Comerica.

“We are like Photoshop but for sound,” said Mark Ethier, CEO of iZotope.

Like Adobe, iZotope won an Emmy in 2013 for its contributions to television recording. The company produces software and hardware for creating, mastering, mixing, and repairing sound.

If I know anything about the truly audio-obsessed (cough cough dad), it’s that they will do nearly anything to experience a new sound. I’m not talking about the mere audiophiles. I am talking about people for whom the Native Instruments Komplete 10 library of 12,000 sounds is not enough. For those people, iZotope offers at-least a temporary escape.

A central focus of iZotope is on producing software to repair audio tracks. Let’s say that you are filming the season finale of Mr.Robot and everything is perfect. White Rose is sitting next to the perfectly crackling fire, the expressions, the harp, the watch beep, it’s all perfect down to the the haunting delivery of the story of Emperor Nero. Unfortunately, let’s say an extra in the background drops a tray of hors d’oeuvres. In the past, the scene would have to be reshot, potentially losing out on ideal chemistry. iZotope algorithms produce a sort of spectrogram, enabling musicians to see sound like a picture. Audio engineers can simply draw around the sounds they want to process and can hit the delete key to remove them.

The company has doubled since 2013 and now employs over 100 people. The team plans to continue to expand product lines and work towards serving a broader customer base.

iZotope works with a lot of big names but the company also sells to hobbyists and people who have home studios and produce home videos.

“The tools used to make sound effects in Star Wars are the same tools used by musicians to alter their drums,” added Ethier.

Other products in the space emphasize simplicity and one-tap mobile solutions. While iZotope cares about user experience, it also prioritizes customization, control, and cutting edge processing.

“We have a dedicated team of people researching new technology in the deep learning and machine learning realm,” noted Ethier.

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