Roli the makers of digital musical instruments are expanding into the Middle East. The UK based startup builds both hardware – sleek looking mini pods and equipping them with software that enables it to play every type of sound that humans have heard.
Products are being rolled out stores at Dubai Duty Free and select Virgin Mega Stores outlets across Dubai.
Sarah Yule – EMEA Sales director, Roli, spoke to TahawaulTech during her recent visit to Dubai and says she been busy getting on board various stakeholders across Dubai.
“We are happy to start with Dubai – considered to be the tech hub of the region. Middle east is a really important market for us. The market is exciting. We aim to cater to everyone who loves music and everyone who aspires to create music,” she says.
Roli currently has three main products or blocks as the company calls it – the Seaboard block, which is similar to a mini keyboard and the square shaped lightboard Block – another modular system that has various touchpoints to products sound of drums and acoustic and effects and a control block that provides shortcuts to tools that can help a user create tracks.
All blocks can be interconnected using the magnetic pins that are attached to each of them, enabling users to create a mega set with multiple interconnected blocks. Roli has custom built an app and called it Noise. The app automatically links up to all interconnected devices, powering them up with the sound and modulations.
“Our products are designed to inspire everyone to find joy in creating music. Music is a universal language that everyone can understand but only a few of us can speak. And this is something that we really want to change,” says Yule.
The company has partnered with Apple and its products can also be found across all Apple stores. An agreement with Amazon has even found the products listed on Souq.com.
Prices for a block start at AED780 and a complete set can be purchased for AED1200.
The company has so far raised more than US $50 million. In June the company announced that Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) has invested but did not specify additional details. It had raised about $27m from a Series B round in May 2016 led by Foundry Group. Other investors include Universal Music Group and FirstMark Capital in the US, Balderton Capital and BGF Ventures in the UK, and Horizons Ventures in Hong Kong.
You can watch the full interview with Sarah Yule below.