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LISNR blog

LISNR’s award winning technology has captured the attention of Budweiser, Sony and the Grammys as an innovative way to change the event experience. From football stadiums and concert halls to your couch at home, the Smart Tones technology sends data over audio to deliver second- screen experiences and proximity-based messaging to improve the fan experience. We welcomed Rodney Williams, LISNR’S CEO and founder to learn how this Cincinnati-based startup is hitting it big with inaudible sounds.

What is LISNR’s founding story? What problem were you trying to solve when creating your startup?

LISNR was born out of my inspiration to touch consumers in contextually relevant moments using a medium that is all around us—sound.

We’re in the mobile revolution. It’s the reason that second-screen experiences, proximity-based marketing campaigns and contextually aware promotions are so popular right now. However, the technology that powers these experiences—Bluetooth, Beacons, NFC, GPS—are falling short.

With LISNR, we offer the most efficient and effective way to connect devices with no hardware, minimal battery drain and synchronization in under a second.

Your technology has exciting applications for entertainment and sports. What are some other applications for LISNR’s solution?

That’s the great part about building this business. We have been fortunate to focus on building our core technology—the LISNR SmartTones. We offer our technology as an SDK for other incredibly smart people to build on. It’s given us access to lots of new lines of business.

Our core verticals are Sports, Live Events, Retail Environments and Broadcast. However, we are aggressively opening new verticals in Peer-to-Peer, Contactless Payments, Authentication and Connected Devices.

What’s it like being a startup that works with sports and entertainment celebrities? What was your most memorable meet up?

We’ve been very fortunate to have such amazing customers. It’s surprising to find yourself in a meeting with Jay-Z or Rihanna. But the most memorable meeting was with President Obama when asked to be honored during the first ever White House Demo Day.

You say that more people are opting to watch live sporting events at home instead of going into the venue. How will your technology help steer crowds into stadiums again?

LISNR’s technology enhances the fan experience during the broadcast or at the live event. Whether you’re on your couch browsing Twitter, or in the Club seats at the game, we can deliver an incredible fan experience: real time player stats, player cards, merchandise promotion and interactive games.

What are your goals while in Cisco EIR?

Being a part of the Cisco EIR gives us a unique opportunity to continue to build our momentum in the Internet of Things and Connected Devices space.

As more devices come to market with internet connectivity, our wireless infrastructure will suffer. LISNR SmartTones could replace both of these utilities using sound as the infrastructure to make these connections. All at a fraction of the cost these other technologies require.

We hope to use the network and experience of a leader like Cisco to help us get there.

What is your #1 advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

You need to find motivation in the struggle. When the challenges are what motivate you, the accomplishments are all that much sweeter. The entrepreneurial journey is always uphill.

Running a startup is tough. How do you stay motivated?

I’m constantly learning. I think the process of always discovering new things keep me energized about what we are building and where we are taking the company.


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About the Author

Sarah Nguyen
Sarah is the marketing specialist for Cisco EIR.
About Cisco EIR
Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence is a 6 month startup incubator focused on growth and distribution in the Cisco ecosystem.
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