Facebook acquires Edinburgh audio start-up Two Big Ears

An Edinburgh-based start-up that specialises in virtual reality (VR) audio has been bought by social networking giant Facebook.

Facebook has paid an undisclosed sum for Edinburgh start-up Two Big Ears. Picture: John Devlin
Facebook has paid an undisclosed sum for Edinburgh start-up Two Big Ears. Picture: John Devlin

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see Two Big Ears make its software tools available to video developers for free as it seeks to scale up its technology and “continue powering immersive audio experiences”.

Two Big Ears was founded in 2013 by University of Edinburgh graduates Varun Nair and Abesh Thakur and recently bolstered its board with the appointment of former Wolfson finance chief George Elliott and Neil Heywood, chairman of Codeplay Software, as non-executive directors.

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Two Big Ears aims to make virtual sound a reality

Thakur, the firm’s chief executive, said: “Our mission is to make VR audio succeed across all devices and platforms and continue to help creators make the best experiences for billions of people across the world.

“Thank you to our customers, partners and investors, including board members George Elliott and Neil Heywood, the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise and everybody who has been with us on this amazing journey. We look forward to advancing our mission – and continuing our work with you – from Facebook.”

Facebook acquired VR headset maker Oculus Rift for $2 billion (£1.4bn) in 2014. Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s co-founder, said at the time: “Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together.”

Last year, Two Big Ears played a key role in the creation of a new music video for Björk. It partnered with Third Space Agency and digital production specialist Rewind to create a “360-degree virtual reality video” for the Icelandic artist.