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Amazon invests in Vesper's far-field microphone tech

Amazon's Alexa Fund joined names like Baidu and Sands Capital in pouring $23 million into the makers of a new generation of always-listening microphones.

Ry Crist
Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Expertise Smart home technology and wireless connectivity Credentials 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
2 min read
James Martin

Vesper, a Boston-based manufacturer of advanced microphone tech, announced a new round of funding today worth $23 million. The incoming cash is led by American Family Ventures, and includes Series B investments from Baidu, Bose Ventures, Sands Capital and Amazon's Alexa Fund, among others.

It isn't Amazon's first fling with Vesper. In 2016, the Alexa Fund joined Vesper's $15 million Series A funding round, and has since incorporated Vesper microphone tech into special, Amazon-tested hardware kits that manufacturers can use to make their own Alexa devices.

Calling Amazon's investment "a testament to [Vesper's] continued momentum," Alexa Fund director Paul Bernard suggests that Vesper could play an important role in Alexa's march into the mainstream at a time when voice-activated gadgets continue to surge in popularity.

"Our vision is for Alexa to be everywhere, and that means devices need to be built with durable, high-quality components that stand up to the demands of many different environments, especially on-the-go scenarios that require better power efficiency," Bernard says.

To that end, Vesper's flagship product is the VM1010, a micro-sized, waterproof piezoelectric microphone with "Zero Power Listening." Vesper claims that its proprietary approach can bring voice activation to battery-powered devices while using "nearly zero power," and that its manufacturing partners stand ready to scale to "any volume."

The incoming cash brings Vesper's total funding up to $40 million.

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