22. LISNR

No Wi-Fi? No problem.

Founders: Josh Glick, Chris Ostoich, Rodney Williams (CEO)
Launched: 2012
Headquarters: Cincinnati
Funding:
$18.9 million (PitchBook)
Valuation: N/A
Key technologies:
Internet of things
Disrupting:
Audio, mobile

George Kavallines | CNBC

This Cincinnati-based company has developed a way to use audio, rather than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, to transmit data between devices. LISNR is a near-ultrasonic, low-power data transmission technology that allows fast, reliable and secure communication between devices — like smartphones — that have a speaker or a microphone. The company says its proprietary technology acts as a proxy for data transmission, thus eliminating the need for complex and expensive radio frequency or audio fingerprinting-based technologies. And unlike Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, LISNR audio technology is not dependent on hardware or connectivity; it just needs sound to make a connection. It sells its wireless transmission technology to companies with connected products and services across a number of different industries. The company has more than 100 partnerships and customers, including Intel, Amdocs, JLR and Visa.

Read More: FULL LIST: 2018 DISRUPTOR 50

The company claims that its technology is being used around the world to power more than 100 million devices. Last year it launched a partnership with Ticketmaster that enables venues to check attendees into an event by using LISNR's audio technology. This would reduce entry wait time. Rather than having security staff manually scan a QR code or bar code from a paper ticket, LISNR's data over audio tech can broadcast the attendee's data over their phone's ultrasonic sound transmission to verify their ID and mobile ticket.

To date, LISNR has raised $14.4 million from Intel Capital and Progress Ventures. It received an additional infusion of capital (it won't say how much) last year from financial services company Synchrony Financial. That company is reportedly building payment products using LISNR's audio technology.

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