How Sonos Vox landed the deal with Next Level

An exclusive interview with Stephen Bauer, Director, Global Business Development – Voice, Sonos

Nippon Express HQ Bldg raw


  • Headquarter Country: Corporate Headquarters: USA (Sonos Vox: France)
  • Industry: Voice technology
  • Hit Products: Offline voice assistants, interfaces and natural language processing software with unique on-device machine learning.


  • Large scale ramp-up
  • Before contacting Next Level in 2018, Snips was already getting noticed on the Japanese market, like it was globally.
  • There were a few leads, but very challenging for the team to manage the local Japanese prospect and partner relationships efficiently from the Paris headquarters.


  • Snips selected Next Level to increase Snips’ awareness in Japan, deepen relationships with existing leads, and source new ones.
  • Interacting almost daily with the Sonos Vox team in Paris, Next Level was up and running quickly and was essential to the fruition and delivery of Sonos Vox first project in Japan.

About Sonos Vox

“Sonos Vox was originally founded in France in 2013 as Snips and developed a “private-by-design”, natural language speech recognition technology that can run offline and locally on device with cloud level performance.
Snips’ unique technology got the interest of Sonos, one of the world’s leading sound experience brands, which acquired Snips on November 19, 2019.”

Official announcement of Nittsu project with Snips in Plug and Play Japan Summer Fall Summit 2019
Nippon Express announcing officially the adoption of Snips (now Sonos Vox) technology for their international moving division at Plug and Play Japan Summit, Sept. 18, 2019

How did Next Level contribute to your business expansion into the country?

“Next Level was essential to our signature of our first Japanese project, with Nippon Express, a prominent Japanese logistics company (US$16bn in turnover in 2017).

In charge of the local project management and business relationship on the ground, Next Level was in constant contact with our HQ team, tracking every action and pushing us relentlessly(!) to the best satisfaction of our Client as well as help us understand the subtleties of doing business in Japan.

Next Level was equally responsive with changes in the business environment. At one point during a crucial moment for our key project our dedicated resource elected to leave. That very same day, Next Level assigned another project manager on the spot and we were able to maintain trust with our Client and assure business continuity.

Next Level is also well connected in the local ecosystem which helped Snips garner the French Tech Business Award for 2019 by the French Chamber of Commerce in Japan.”

Originally a small French startup, how did you gain visibility in Japan?

“Our first contacts in Japan were established with the help of Business France. Then concurrently with Next Level’s direct sales approach, we increased our visibility through events and trade shows. We were able to exhibit at Slush and were selected to be part of the very first batch of startups at Plug and Play Japan and subsequently had our first contact with Nippon Express. These were just some of the events we participated in with the local support of Next Level.”

Snips French Tech Business Award CCIFJ LT
Snips (now Sonos Vox) awarded with the French Tech Business Award by the French Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Jan. 31, 2019

Can you mention a few other results?

Yes, in addition to landing our first project, and giving us visibility, Next Level identified another 7 qualified leads that may result in future projects.

Stephen Bauer
Global Business Development – Voice, Sonos

Download a PDF version: