Azureus, the most popular open-source BitTorrent client, which announced its intentions to go commercial a few months ago, similar to what has happened with the commercial company avatar of BitTorrent, has received $12 million in second round of funding. The round was led by Redpoint Ventures, and also included Greycroft Partners (Disclaimer: Our parent company’s investors as well); Jarl Mohn, Chairman, CNET, and former CEO of Liberty Digital and E Entertainment Television; and existing investor BV Capital. The company raised its first round a few months ago, and we wrote about it here.
The open-source client was first launched in 2003, among the first front-end clients for BitTorrent…the new commercial company, based in Palo Alto, CA, is headed by CEO Gilles Bian Rosa. Founder and CTO Olivier Chalouhi is also part of the commercial company.
Also today, the company has launched its public content distribution site/service Zudeo, and is trying to bring some of the features that have made sites such as YouTube popular: search, browsing, channels and tagging, etc. For now, it is downloads, but P2P streaming will be launched down the line, the company says.
But again, it will be tough market in which the company will try to make a mark…similar to what I said about BitTorrent in its funding/deals: No one has yet demonstrated the move from free P2P swapping to a legal model…that is probably why Azureus went with a new name in launching the commercial consumer service. Anyway, fighting the marketing muscle of YouTube and other big names will need continued big money into this. Also, no major content deals have been announced yet, though it says they will be in coming weeks.