Playfirst and Vuze Close Series C Financings

vuze playfirstEmployees at San Francisco based PlayFirst and Palo Alto based Vuze  should all enter the holiday period smiling and reassured.  Wednesday, both the Casual Gamer and IPTV startups closed substantial Series C Financings.

For PlayFirst, the deal brought $16.5m of holiday cheer.  DCM led the round and existing investors including Mayfield Fund, Trinity Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners also participated.   Including prior rounds, the new investment brings the cumulative investment in PlayFirst to $26.5m

PlayFirst was founded in 2004.   They were one of the first gaming companies Click to Read More

Venture Roundup: Recently Funded Startups

newly fundedSome years holiday presents come early, some late.  Over the past few weeks, a good handful of companies have gotten their gifts from venture capital firms.  From Red Room to Spotzer, MixerCast and Edgecast to and Kyte.TV, here’s the latest Venture Roundup: Metue’s regular recap of companies recently receiving funding.

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Venture Capital for Talent Agents?

caa vcGlobal venture capital investments are at a six year high and technology continues to encroach on the domain of entertainment and media.  We have net radio, TV and print news increasingly available online.   Even actors and movie industry veterans have moved to create both their own online distribution outlets, and their own brands of online content.  Think Will Ferrel’s Funny or Die, the Coen brothers with 60 Frames Entertainment, or Jerry Zucker (of Airplane fame) with National Banana.   It makes sense, given all this to see Hollywood jumping deeper into venture capital, private equity and early stage investment.

Earlier this week, PaidContent discovered the latest entry will come from Hollywood’s elite talent agencies.  Creative Artists (CAA), the biggest of the bunch, is reportedly raising $150m to $200m for venture investment in digital entertainment. They are seeking funds from traditional limited partners like pension funds and being advised by experienced Silicon Valley VC’s.

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Youku, Chinese YouTube Reproduction Raises $25m

youku fundingMoney flowing into Internet video startups doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Just the opposite, the sector continues to expand globally. Pacific Epoch reports Chinese language site has closed a $25m Series C Financing.

The round was led by Brookside Capital Partners (subsidiary of Bain Capital) and the Company’s three existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Farallon Capital Management and Chengwei Ventures. is very much like a Chinese languageYouTube, right down to the colors and layout of the pages. Also like YouTube, it is a forum for displaying and interacting with user-generated/user-submitted videos.

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Venture Round Up: 3 Companies Funded and 1 that Wasn’t

VC DealsThe markets may be volatile and concerned but the VC industry is chugging ahead.  There have been 4 IPO’s and 4 $100m-plus M&A exits for portfolio companies at Accel Ventures this year.  Buoyed by that success, the firm just closed their tenth fund with $520m available for investment.  That total, while still below the $950m raised in 2000,  is up a handsome 30% over prior fund Accel IX  (IX closed with $400m in 2004). 

Accel hasn’t been involved in any new digital media or entertainment related deals the past couple weeks, but other firms have committed plenty of capital.  Takkle, Vivox and Vobile are among the recipients.  On the other hand, AmeriTV, a supposed IPTV company that sounds like Joost, apparently didn’t receive capital despite a press release to the contrary.  AmeriTV’s financing, possibly even the existence of the company, appear to have been a hoax that tripped up a few news sites that didn’t check on their facts.

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Venture Round Up: Net Video Financing Recap


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.

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$34m Series B for video software company Move Networks

With the market for Internet video exploding, so to is the market opportunity for companies providing back-end enabling technologies, notably encoding/transcoding and distribution/streaming services.   Investors are taking note.

move networks financingOne of the players, Utah-based Move Networks has just raised an additional $34m in a Series B financing.  The Reg D securities filing was dated September 24.  According to PE Hub (which has first-look access to the public record document thanks to parent company Thompson Financial’s service relationship with the SEC) prior investor Steamboat Ventures appears to have led the round. (Steamboat Ventures, which is named after the Mickey Mouse character Steamboat Willy, is the Walt Disney Company’s venture capital arm).

The new capital brings the total investment in Move Networks to about $45m.  Hummer Winblad and Steamboat previously invested $11.3m in a Series A round that closed in December 2006.

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