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U.K. music hardware startup Roli has raised a $27 million Series B round. Led by Boulder-based firm Foundry Group, it represents the VC firm’s first non-U.S. investment. San Francisco-based Founders Fund and London-based BGF Ventures also participated, alongside investors who had plowed cash into Roli’s $12.8 million Series A: FirstMark Capital, Index Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Balderton Capital, and Universal Music Group.

Founded in 2009, London-based Roli builds “revolutionary” hardware, software, and related services  “designed to increase the bandwidth of interaction between people and technology.” This includes the $800 Seaboard Rise Midi controller, a soft keyboard-like instrument that lets music-makers shape sound using five dimensions of touch.

“The success of the Seaboard has shown that people want musical devices that are elegant, advanced, and open to all — and as easy to use as a smartphone or tablet,” explained Roland Lamb, the company founder and CEO.

Seaboard RISE 25 in Life High Resolution

Above: Seaboard Rise 25

What’s perhaps most notable about this funding round is that it must surely be among the biggest for a hardware startup this year, certainly in Europe.

“We’ve had the opportunity to partner with companies at the forefront of connected health, connected play, and other areas where the intersection of physical and digital technologies is transforming the way we live,” added Ryan McIntyre, partner at Foundry Group. “The Seaboard is a truly expressive new instrument, and we believe this is just the first step in a breakthrough roadmap for connected music.”

The company says it will use the new funds to meet demand, grow into new markets, and build out its team across Europe and the U.S. At the time of writing, Roli also counts offices in Los Angeles and New York, though Seaboards are now available to buy in 200 retail outlets in 15 countries.


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