Sonos Buys AI Voice Assistant Platform Snips for $37.5M

Courtesy of Sonos
        

The Paris-based startup is committed to data privacy.

Sonos, Inc. has acquired Paris-based artificial intelligence voice assistant platform Snips SAS for $37.5 million, marking Sonos' first acquisition as a public company.

The deal, which closed on Nov. 14, brings Snips' team of more than 50 engineering, machine learning and product development professionals and its strategic IP under the Sonos umbrella. Snips' tailored voice assistants are designed to run alongside others currently on the Sonos platform, according to a press release, and are focused on both efficiency and user privacy. 

“Millions of people have come to enjoy the ease of controlling music with their voice. Today’s announcement gives us the added talent and technology to create an even more differentiated and immersive experience for customers, both inside and outside of the home,” said Sonos CEO Patrick Spence

Sonos currently offers both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistants on its range of smart speaker devices. And within a Q4 letter to shareholders today (Nov. 20), Spence added that "We do not plan to replicate the big tech 'ask anything voice services' but expect this acquisition will add to our customers’ ease of use and control as we continue to differentiate an end-to-end Sonos experience for our customers." He also said that the acquisition aligns with Sonos' external research showing that the most popular use for voice assistants is to access music. 

Under the deal, Snips, which was founded in 2013, will remain based in France. It also has an office in Tokyo.

“The technology we have created has been validated by one of the leaders in consumer electronics," said Snips co-founder and CEO Dr. Rand Hindi. "I am thrilled that, joining an international company, Snips will continue its operations in France, helping French technologies succeed at an international level.”

Added Snips CTO Joseph Dureau: “We are thrilled to join forces with Sonos, a company that shares our core values, to continue our work and take private-by-design voice experiences to a truly global audience. We see an exciting future together as we integrate our IP and platform with Sonos, knowing it shares our dedication to building great experiences for customers without asking them to sacrifice privacy.”

Meanwhile, Sonos says it exceeded the financial targets it set at the time of its IPO in July 2018: Revenue increased 11% to a record $1.261 billion in fiscal year 2019, marking Sonos' third consecutive year of 10% or more increase in revenue. It also reported record Q4 revenue of $294 million for the quarter ended Sept. 28, representing 8% growth year-over-year, and a net Q4 loss of $30 million, compared to a loss of $2 million last year. 


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