45. LISNR

Connecting via audio

Founders: Rodney Williams, Josh Glick, Chris Ostoich
Launched: 2012
Funding: $15.5 million
Valuation: $39 million
Disrupting: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth services
Rival: iBeacon

LISNR is connecting devices using audio rather than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The company's data-over-audio technology basically creates a high-frequency, inaudible "smart tone" that can be played by any speaker and picked up by any microphone. This effectively turns any speaker—a stadium PA system or even the TV in your living room—into a beacon that can then deliver relevant information and messages to the user. And unlike Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, LISNR is not dependent on hardware or connectivity; it just needs sound to make a connection.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2016 DISRUPTOR 50

Rodney Williams started LISNR in 2012 after a career working in brand management at Procter & Gamble. He saw firsthand the constant struggle brands have connecting with consumers, and figured that by lowering the barrier for proximity-based marketing on mobile devices, he could help solve that problem.

"The world is becoming a place where people need to be connected to the world around them and vice versa. Our long-term goal is to harness the original medium for a message to be delivered — through sound — and bring it to the digital age." -Rodney Williams, founder and CEO

LISNR is free for consumers; the company charges the marketers that use it. And that list is growing. LISNR has over 100 customers, including AT&T, Heineken, Live Nation and Budweiser. It's raised $15.5 million of equity financing from Intel Capital, Jump Capital and Mercury Fund.

Rodney Williams, co-founder and CEO of LISNR
Source: LISNR
Rodney Williams, co-founder and CEO of LISNR

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