Venture capital firm Beringea invests in Ferndale’s Livio Radio

It looks like the signal between Beringea and Livio Radio is coming through crystal clear now that the Farmington Hills-based venture capital firm is investing in the high-tech radio maker from Ferndale.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the investment from Michigan’s largest VC firm will allow Livio Radio to launch new products for its Internet radio line, while expanding sales and marketing efforts.

“What really attracted us to the company was its founder, Jake Sigal,” says David Ruby, an associate with Beringea who helped broker the deal. “He had a lot of success with other companies before forming his own. It’s really a bet on his talent and his ability to develop products for his company.”

Sigal, 28, helped create the first USB turntable. He founded Livio Radio in 2008 when he created a simple radio that let users listen to popular Internet radio station Pandora. It now allows users to listen to NPR and 16,000 additional stations from around the world. That has allowed the firm to expand to 10 employees and five independent contractors. It recently added four positions and expects to add three more before the year is out.

“We’re doing well,” Sigal says. “We have retail distribution in the U.S. and Canada. Plus, we have a lot of stuff coming down the road.”

Livio Radio recently launched an iPhone application, the Livio Car Internet Radio, that lets users access Internet radio stations during their ride. It’s also working on apps for other smart phones and the iPad. More products are also cooking further down the road thanks to the recent infusion of venture capital.

That money comes at a time when venture capital, seed capital, and financing of just about any kind is hard to come by in the wake of the recent financial crisis. Sigal says he has been working for months to land Beringea’s “smart money” (a combination of cash and business expertise) in his start-up, which has already raised a couple of rounds of seed capital from angel investors.

“I was successful because I was boot strapping all the way,” Sigal says. “That’s why I was successful — by pitching a product and not a story.”

Source: Jake Sigal, CEO of Livio Radio and David Ruby, an associate with Beringea
Writer: Jon Zemke