Echostar Buys SlingMedia For $380 Million

[qi:032] If 5% of Facebook is worth $500 million, then one can’t be surprised that place shifting pioneer SlingMedia is worth something. The Foster City, Calif.-based Sling has been acquired by EchoStar (DISH), a satellite broadcasting service company for $380 million in cash and stock.

Sling has raised over $60 million in venture funding. John Malone’s Liberty Media Corporation and Echostar Communications were some of the backers of this three-year-old company co-founded by Blake Krikorian, Jason Krikorian and Bhupen Shah.

“As an early investor in Sling Media, EchoStar has been pleased with the progress and commitment the company has made establishing Sling Media and the Slingbox as powerful and beloved digital media brands,” said Charlie Ergen, CEO and co-founder of EchoStar.

I first wrote about the company back in October 2004, and was enthusiastic about their technology that shifted television from home to pretty much anywhere. Since then, the tireless trio took their original idea, turned it into a functioning product and flawlessly executed on their vision.

Sling maintained two offices – one in Silicon Valley and one in Bangalore, India that was responsible for crafting together the chips that provide the Sling magic. Blake would often return my calls sitting in transit somewhere half way around the planet, visiting the labs in Bangalore.

Sling is smart to take the money from Echostar. If history is any indication then building a consumer electronics company in Silicon Valley is a tough task. Sling has established a nice brand, but in order to grow further the company needs deep pockets of a corporate master.

It is fun to see two start-ups, Zimbra and Sling Media get snapped up in space of less than two weeks, bearing out my early (and sometimes unbridled) enthusiasm for them.

Bonus Link: Check out my interview with Blake for The GigaOM Show. Ryan McIntyre, who was an early believer and investor in the company gives his side of the story.


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