Livio Connect Wins Frost & Sullivan Product Development Award

5/11/12Follow @XconomyDET

Ferndale, MI-based Livio Radio announced this week that it has won the Frost & Sullivan 2012 New Product Innovation Award for its Livio Connect API. The technology connects mobile apps on drivers’ phones to their cars, allowing the apps to show up on the stereo’s dashboard touchscreen.

Frost & Sullivan is a trusted auto analyst, says Livio’s founder and CEO Jake Sigal, so the the award carries with it third-party validation as the company works to secure partnerships with both auto manufacturers and software developers. “It’s a big win for a small company in Ferndale, Michigan,” he adds. “Now OEMs will be able to read Frost & Sullivan’s explanation of why our technology is great for their cars.”

Sigal launched the company—which now has 15 full-time employees—from his spare bedroom in 2008, with the goal of making Internet radio products accessible to people like his mother and her friends. In 2009, Livio launched stand-alone tabletop radios built to stream NPR’s or Pandora’s online content. In 2010, Beringea, Michigan’s largest venture capital firm, invested in the company to help it scale and launch new products.

Though Sigal says hardware like the standalone radios are still a big part of his company’s revenues—and that Livio recently inked a deal with Wal-Mart to carry the radios on its shelves—the focus now is on software. Livio is continuing to add functionality to its API according to the needs of developers, Sigal says. Livio also offers a product called called Carmen, which can record content from Internet radio stations for playback in the car; Bluetooth Internet radio kits for iPhone and Andriod; and an app called Car Internet Radio that carries 45,000 stations from around the world.

Though Sigal won’t disclose any specific numbers, he says business is good enough that the company is hiring and expanding its office to accomodate growth. Despite the current gold rush in mobile app development, Sigal already has his eyes on the future, when the consumer craze for accessing mobile apps in cars will give way to the desire to connect directly to websites. “We’re doing a lot of work with HTML5 and the new technology that will replace apps,” Sigal says. “We’ve always been a company that does things our own way.”

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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