IDG Ventures European debut

IDG Venture Europe has announced its first European investments including a $7.5 million funding round for Shazam Entertainment. The UK-based company offers mobile phone users a music recognition service. Other participating investors include Lynx New Media, a fund established by Bear Stearns and Virgin Media and FLV Fund. The funding will help Shazam take its technology to market.

Shazam can identify recorded music heard in pubs, clubs, and cinemas or over the radio using patent-pending technology in audio pattern recognition. If the user hears music they like they dial Shazam’s number and hold the phone up to record the music for 15 seconds. This is matched against a database of a million songs in less than a second and the name of the track, album and artist will be sent to the user as a voice or text message. The company received angel financing from the former chairman of EMI Group, the founder of Amazon, and the former chief technologist for BT.

Ajay Chowdhury, managing partner of IDG Ventures, said: “We are excited about Shazam’s technology and believe that it offers the potential for a superb new service for mobile phone users worldwide. We believe that music is a powerful driver for mobile applications and Shazam helps to unlock that potential.”

IDG Ventures, which manages $580 million worldwide, is the venture capital arm of the International Data Group. Initially IDG Ventures Europe has $100 million available to invest in European IT start-up companies, focusing on wireless, networking, content, service management and e-commerce enablers. IDG Ventures’ first European investment was in ClarITeam, a French Managed Service Provider (MSP) specialising in IT Quality of Service. IDG participated alongside Apax, Dassault Development, Innovacom, Sofinnova and Viventures in a round worth EURO14.4 million in total.

Brobeck Hale and Dorr advised Shazam and the investors were represented by Berwin Leighton Paisner.