Motionbox Wants $30; VCs Give it $7M

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Motionbox, a video-sharing startup that has diverged from the pack with a new strategy of paid premium services, has raised a $7 million Series B round. New investor Constellation Ventures, a unit of Bear Stearns Asset Management, led the round, alongside existing investors Canaan Partners and SAS Investors, bringing the New York City-based company’s total funding to $11.2 million.

Motionbox isn’t the only video startup with this strategy — see, for instance, One True Media — but it’s certainly in the minority. Motionbox CEO Chris O’Brien said his company is aiming to be more like photo product companies Shutterfly and Snapfish than previous competitors YouTube and He is going after the camcorder-at-the-kids’-dance-recital segment of the market. (We first mentioned the strategy shift when we ran into O’Brien at a conference last summer.)

The company will apply its new funding to product development as well as marketing — to that end, it’s hired execs with experience in paid online media from Audible and RealNetworks. O’Brien said he is looking to tie up partnerships with video device makers.

Motionbox charges $29.99 per year for premium services, which is not a bad deal considering it provides unlimited storage and sharing of original-quality versions of its customers’ videos. It also has a limited free video-hosting offering that includes web-based video editing — one of the company’s prior focuses. O’Brien claimed high “take rates” for the paid product, but didn’t go into further detail.

For the holiday season, Motionbox is rolling out its first physical products — “Motionbooks” — or tiny flipbooks of personal videos. That’s a pretty awesome stocking stuffer for $7.99 with free shipping.

It’s interesting to see how much business plans have diverged in the online video space — at one point in the not-too-distant past we can remember Motionbox and VideoEgg being competitors.

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