BROOMFIELD – Settled into its Broomfield headquarters after a move from Boulder last year, startup Soundwall Inc., closed recently on a $3 million funding round and saw cofounder David Hose return as CEO as the company works to get its “connected canvases” for art in front of more customers at brick-and-mortar retail locations.
Hose replaces Aaron Cohen, who was hired in late 2014 and will stay involved as an advisor for Soundwall. While remaining chairman of Soundwall, Hose had spent a yearlong stint as interim CEO of music-streaming service Rhapsody until late last year.
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Now back leading the way for Soundwall, Hose said a major focus of the new funding round will be on ramping up sales and marketing, specifically getting customers to see the company’s products in person rather than just online. After a small launch in 2014, Soundwall increased sales in 2015 mostly through online sites.
Soundwall makes a canvas that is a speaker and is connected to the Internet, enabling it to do things like play music from a mobile device or play back the artist’s voice describing the painting. The company earlier this year added a “floating aluminum” version to its product lineup that is more modern and sleek looking than Soundwall’s original framed product.
“This year we realized that people who get it love the product,” Hose said. “But it’s hard for people to figure it out online, so we’re working out a strategy for that.”
Soundwall, which has an office in New York, will still keep higher-end pieces on display in galleries in places like New York and London. But Hose said the company plans to make a big push to get its canvases into more boutique retail stores as well.
“We’re going to find places where you’d expect to see magical, beautifully designed product,” Hose said.
The new funding round follows a $4 million round raised in late 2014 largely for product development and building out the company’s team, which Hose said has grown by 10 over the past year to about 20. John Malloy of California-based BlueRun Ventures led the previous round, while the lead investor of the latest round was not disclosed.
Soundwall, which had been operating out of the former Sutherland’s lumberyard site at 3390 Valmont St. in Boulder, moved last year into space in 530 Compton St. in Broomfield. Hose declined to disclose revenue. But he said Soundwall can produce about 200 of the handbuilt canvases – which can sell for $800 to as much as $20,000 – per month per shift at its new space, and said he’s working on adding a second shift. The aim, he said, is to continue to add employees this year.
“Our goal is to add to the Broomfield economy,” said Hose, who cofounded the company with Sven Coppom.