If venture investors are any indicator then both Akimbo and video on demand over broadband is about to hit big time.
The San Mateo-based start-up has raised $15.5 million in series C financing from new investors, Cisco Systems, AT&T and venture capital firm, Blueprint Ventures. Existing investors – Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sprout Group and Zone Ventures – also participated in this round of funding. Akimbo had raised $12 million its previous round of funding back in 2004. (More from Silicon Beat here.)
The tactical implications of this funding cannot be missed. Cisco, which led this round of financing owns Linksys, KISS and Scientific Atlanta, one of the major set-top box makers. This could mean Akimbo software could find its way into a myriad of devices. Joshua Goldman, CEO of Akimbo feels that along with AT&T, the Akimbo service can now find a mainstream audience. But the most interesting aspect of this investment is AT&T. Akimbo had previously had a deal with AT&T which allowed Ma Bell to distribute Akimbo programing on its AT&T’s Homezone service, scheduled to launch later this summer. The investment formalizes the relationship.
Still, I cannot help but read between the lines. AT&T has been pushing higher speed DSL connections. While not fast for instant on-demand video, they are plenty good enough for Akimbo-type services that trickle down the content to set-top boxes. It has also been aggressively hawking its DISH Network TV offering. AT&T’s Homezone offering will be focus of attention this summer. Add it all up: Project LightSpeed may not be moving at lightening speed!