Union Tribune Story

By Mike Freeman – Contact Reporter

San Diego 3-D sound bar outfit Comhear said Monday that it has completed a $12 million capitalization to further push its surround-sound speaker technology into the professional audio-visual and consumer markets.

The funding includes the conversion of $8.7 million in debt financing into equity, $2.1 million in new investment and other steps that “clear up the capital table a little bit, and give us the ability to either raise a Series B round or take it toward a path to public markets,” said Perry Teevens, president of Comhear.

Founded in 2013, Comhear developed technology that delivers highly directional audio from a single, compact sound bar. It was created by university researchers led by Peter Otto – former director of sonic arts research at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute. Otto is now Comhear’s chief science officer.

“Think of it this way, most speakers act like a flood light,” said Teevens. “You have a left and a right channel and sound goes everywhere. What we’re able to do is direct sound in such a way that it creates an acoustic surround-sound field. We can shoot that sound so it is perceived to be moving around your head, from a pretty discrete little sound bar.”

Comhear says its MyBeam technology can deliver immersive, 360-degree sound without headphones. The company is targeting the gaming, virtual and augmented reality, home entertainment, automotive, theme park and professional audio-visual markets.

As part of the new funding, Gerry Chastelet has been named chief executive. Andrew Arno has joined the company’s board of directors. Chastelet is former chairman of Dominus Innovations and Digital Lightwave. Arno is vice chairman of the special equities at Chardan Capital Markets in New York.

Teevens moves from CEO to President to focus on business development for the company, which has about 15 employees and contractors.

Comhear’s technology includes dynamic beam forming, which delivers sound so others nearby can’t hear it, said Teevens. That feature could be used in video-based ticket/information kiosks at bus stops and subway stations, or in museums at exhibits.

Last year, Comhear received convertible debt financing led by Taiwan’s Zylux Acoustic Corp. Zylux builds sound bars based on Comhear’s specifications for the professional audio-visual market.

The company has not released a consumer sound bar yet. But it plans to launch a crowd-sourcing campaign this summer for the Yarra 3DX for consumers. Prices haven’t been determined.

Source: San Diego Union Tribune