Livescribe, the maker of a high-tech pen that makes an audio recording of your conversation as you take notes, has added another $7 million to its funding, bringing its first round to a total of more than $30 million, VentureBeat has learned. Backers include VantagePoint Venture Partners and Gerlach & Co.
The company has confirmed the financing amount; I haven’t received a response confirming the names of the investors yet. Private Equity Hub reported the funding first, although we learned about it independently.
From what I’ve read, Livescribe’s Pulse smartpen seems very cool. The main feature is the audio recording, which journalists, students and others can use to make sense of their notes. For example, I might interview someone for a VentureBeat article, but discover later that my notes of the best quote don’t make a lot of sense. That’s okay, because with Pulse I can jump to that point in the recording and hear exactly what was said. The pen even includes an infrared camera (to record text) and a small display for playing short animations. The cheapest Pulse model costs $149, so the question is whether many people will pay that much for a pen, no matter how fancy. You can watch a video demo here.
Livescribe got a lot of positive press after demonstrating its project at the DEMO conference in January, where it also won a DEMO God Award. (We learned about Livescribe’s $23.2 million first round at the same time.) The Oakland, Calif. startup’s Pulse pen went on sale in June. In his write-up, Engadget columnist Ross Rubin called it “the most technologically advanced writing instrument not intended for killing a Bond villain,” and he pointed to not just the cool features, but also to the Pulse’s potential as platform for other pen-based applications.
Another smartpen maker called Adapx recently raised an undisclosed amount of funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture firm that makes strategic investments for the intelligence community.