The period leading up the the Thanksgiving holiday tends to be among the quieter times for venture investments but plenty of checks are getting written. In fact, despite an increasingly crowded market and lack of new "disruptive" technologies, Internet video remains hot. mDialog and Vitrue are among the slate who’ve gotten new capital. Here’s a roundup of five recent deals.
Toronto based, mDialog licensed Apple’s MPEG4 H–264 video standard for a desktop video uploading tool. In addition to being a user-generated content video site, they’re hoping to appeal to film festivals (to ease the submission process). They plan to collect subscription revenue and are also hoping to act as distributors r 3rd party content specifically formatted for Apple services like the iPod and it’s far less successful cousin, Apple TV. VentureBeat reports they raised $3.15m from angel investors.
Atlanta based, Vitrue provides "white label" social media sites built around video content. Their technology solutions allow marketers and media companies to rapidly deploy video sites that can serve both community and promotional purposes. For example, using their platform, a major brand could run a content calling for the best user-generated advertisements, or mashups of existing commercials. The site can provide authoring tools and host the submissions. VH1, TBS and Proctor and Gamble are all Vitrue clients. The $10m Series B was led by Dace Ventures and also included General Catalyst Partners, Comcast Interactive Capital and Turner Broadcasting.
San Diego based Imagine is working on streaming technology for home broadband providers, what they call PersonalizedTV. The keywords behind their plans are "optimal video quality" which translates to being prepared for HD offerings, "bandwidth efficiency" meaning getting the most from what you’ve got (they claim to enable as many as 50% more streams over the same pipes than other technologies), and "rapid deployment." The new round brings them $15m from Court Square Ventures, Columbia Capital and Carmel Ventures. Some of the money may be set aside to address an ongoing patent infringement suit with Big Band Networks (where some of Imagine’s staff worked previously)
Also based in San Diego (which is starting to look like a geographic hot zone for net video), vMix provides another consumer video sharing site. (a.k.a. a YouTube, MetaCafe etc. clone). This time the site comes from former execs at Fox, Apple and Universal Music.
Differing from competition VMIX has people review all content before posting it to the site. They also offer their technology platform in white label form ("white label" equals licensed for reuse without brand names attached). The Series B round brings in $16.5m from ATA Ventures, JK&B Capital, Mission Ventures and Enterprise Partners. On top of of $5.5m raised earlier this year, it brings the total to $22m.
British software developer Skinkers has been working with Microsoft to co develop and launch a joint peer to peer, streaming web TV platform called LiveStation. The service, which is currently in Beta, differs from rivals like Joost and Babelgum in its ability to stream live content. It’s underlying "Silverlight" components also provide the possibility for it to be ported to mobile phones. In a second round deal Acacia Capital and Spark Ventures have invested $16m in Skinkers. The money has been characterized as being independent of the LiveStation project and is instead earmarked for ongoing development of Skinkers data distribution technologies. Previously, Skinkers helped build the Wall Street Journal’s desktop news alert service. They have also worked with American Airlines, the BBC and SkyNews in the UK.