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'Jaw-dropping' response to market float is music to tech company's ears

Business

Brisbane medical technology company Audeara will list on the ASX on Friday after what it said was a “jaw-dropping” response in its initial public offering.

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The company already has the backing of some heavy-hitting Queensland investors such as rich lister Brian Flannery’s family and Wotif co-founder Andrew Brice.

But its commercial life began on Kickstarter in 2017 when it received $100,000 of orders for its headphones on the first day of its campaign and closed with sales of more than $450,000.

Co-founder James Fielding said the demand for the shares at its recent $7 million IPO was heartening.

“It was quite an amazing feeling to see the final numbers. We are not disclosing how much oversubscribed, but it was quite jaw-dropping actually,’’ he said.

Audeara has developed headphones with a hearing profile algorithm that is used to personalise sound output to the needs of the individual.

The potential global market for the product was about $US5.7 billion ($A7.28 billion),  but Audeara is well short of that with revenue last year just short of $1 million and it is yet to be cash flow positive.

Fielding said the product fitted well into the market of the baby boomers, people nearing 60 or over with declining hearing. It also serves Defence veterans and younger people with hearing difficulties.

The product can help with television or music and is Bluetooth enabled so it’s easily adapted for computer use.

“We are looking at half the population over 70. In terms of where we are going we address a much, much larger market than Cochlear with regard to the people our technology can help,’’ he said.

“You may not want hearing aids but you may see immense benefits from our headphones.

“Our primary market is those people that are around 60 or over, they know they have hearing loss and haven’t done much about it, but know they should. We act as a great entrance into people starting to pay attention to their hearing.’’

Audeara started in 2015, before the Kickstarter campaign. It was founded by Brisbane-based doctors and engineers, Dr James Fielding, Dr Chris Jeffery and Alex Afflick.

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