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    EUR 15,000,000
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    € 15,000,000
    Austria : € 15,000,000
    Industry : € 15,000,000
    Signature date(s)
    23/07/2021 : € 15,000,000
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    Summary sheet

    Release date
    6 October 2021
    Signed | 23/07/2021
    Project name
    Promoter - financial intermediary
    Proposed EIB finance (Approximate amount)
    Total cost (Approximate amount)
    EUR 15 million
    EUR 33 million

    USound is an Austrian company active in the development of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technologies for audio applications. The fabless company offers its silicon-based speakers to be integrated into a variety of personal electronic devices, enabling their miniaturisation and lower power consumption.

    The objectives of the EIB financing are to support the company to mitigate the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and to execute its growth investments, mainly in research and development (R&D) and commercial expansion.

    Additionality and Impact

    The project supports the policy objective of support for SMEs, as well as research and development by providing tailored venture debt financing to an innovative start-up in the area of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technologies for audio applications, enabling miniaturisation and lower power consumption of audio devices such as smartphones and wearables.

    The project entails positive knowledge spillovers related to audio technologies, MEMS and integrated circuit design, strengthening EU innovation in key enabling technologies.

    EIB's financial contribution facilitates the SME's sustainable growth and helps to maintain its technological edge, despite the adverse economic conditions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, it provides a positive signalling effect to crowd-in further financing from private investors.

    Environmental aspects

    The project activities do not fall under the Annexes I or II of the EU Directive2014/52/EU amending the EIA Directive 2011/92/EU. The project will be carried out in existing facilities, already authorised, that will not change their scope due to the project. As such, the project activities are not subject to a mandatory environmental impact assessment (EIA).

    The Promoter is a private company not operating in the utilities sector and not having the status of a contracting entity, and thus is not subject to EU rules on public procurement. Under these conditions, the procurement procedures followed by the Promoter are suitable for the project.

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    Before financing approval by the Board of Directors, and before loan signature, projects are under appraisal and negotiation. The information and data provided on this page are therefore indicative.
    They are provided for transparency purposes only and cannot be considered to represent official EIB policy (see also the Explanatory notes).

    News & Stories

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    Inside the project

    How and Why

    From mechanics to microelectronics


    • The audio components in smartphones, tablets and headphones haven’t transitioned yet to digital electronics
    • Components in this sector are “technologically obsolete”
    • Microelectromechanical speakers did not exist until now


    • By replacing the coil in conventional speakers with silicon, USound speakers are lighter and smaller
    • TMicro-loudspeakers based on MEMS (microelectromechanical system) technology
    • Microelectromechanical systems combine mechanical and electrical components and are made using semiconductor fabrication techniques
    • To radiate sound, air must be moved. To move more air, the small MEMS structure is connected to a membrane that expands the movement over a larger surface


    Endless applications

    This is the most important development in loudspeaker technology for decades

    • USound MEMS speakers are the thinnest and lightest speakers on the market
    • They require 50% less space and have an extended bandwidth that can expand the frequency range (bandwidth) of a signal
    • Competitive price
    • Production based in Europe, mostly in Italy
    • Accurate, clear sound
    • 80% less energy used, compared to conventional speaker
    USound has brought the next level of integration to the audio industry
    Trudpert Schelb

    the European Investment Bank sector expert involved in the deal

    Play video




    The semi-conductor in your ear

    USound MEMS technology enables miniaturised devices.

    Silicon is a versatile material with electrical and mechanical properties. Microelectronics are usually based on silicon chips, which are fabricated by highly scalable semiconductor processes. MEMS technologies, like sensors and actuators, make use of these processes to combine electrical and mechanical functions.

    USound’s idea is to build micro-loudspeakers based on semi-conductor technology. One of the great advantages of MEMS speakers is that they can easily be integrated into a wide variety of products, especially technologies requiring more minimal designs and less energy consumption, such as audio glasses, wireless earbuds and hearing aids.

    The European Investment Bank has given us a tremendous boost to ramp-up and scale in the midst of a pandemic
    Ferruccio Bottoni

    co-founder and chief executive of USound

    Listen with your eyes


    USound partnered with companies around the world to enable state-of-the-art audio devices. Focally is launching the world's first full-colour, micro-LED augmented-reality glasses with fully see-through display and USound MEMS speakers.

    Luxshare-ICT, one of the largest suppliers for global consumer electronics brands, chose USound as its strategic MEMS speaker supplier for its new ultra-compact hybrid audio module, in mass production throughout 2023.

    USound has also recently launched a new audio amplifier to boost the battery life of hearing aids and smart glasses. Its next challenge is to scale mass production for this new audio amplifier and market devices for headphones, mobile phones and tablets, and televisions.

    Digitalisation also has a role to play in fighting climate change. With artificial intelligence and the internet of things, digitalisation may help us reuse things we currently throw away.

    How teenagers’ feedback guided strategy at USound
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    General enquiries and comments

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    Enquiries and comments concerning the EIB’s involvement in a project or the financing facilities, activities, organisation and objectives of the EIB, can be sent to the EIB Infodesk.
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