Vuze (Azureus) Raises $20 Million

P2P platform Vuze, nee Azureus, has raised $20 million in a round led by New Enterprise Associates, which was joined by existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Greycroft Partners, BV Capital and Jarl Mohn. As well, NEA venture partner Mike Ramsay, the co-founder and former CEO of TiVo, has joined Vuze’s board.

Like BitTorrent, Vuze is based on peer-to-peer software that became highly popular for less-than-legitimate purposes before it turned the corner and built a business. And the company is on an upswing: it’s had 15 million client downloads since relaunching at the beginning of this year. Though requiring a download is an impediment to acquiring new users, it allows Vuze to differentiate from web video sites through delivering higher-quality content, in fact it’s offered HD video since it came online. The company says it now has some 100 premium content relationships.

Vuze CEO Gilles BianRosa participated in the peer-to-peer networking lunch at our NewTeeVee Live conference. He recently petitioned the FCC to stop ISPs like Comcast from interfering with BitTorrent traffic. We’ve also written about Vuze’s efforts to bring independent content creators onto its platform.

Vuze announced just about a year ago that it had raised $12 million in second-round funding. BitTorrent has at least $35 million in funding, Veoh has more than $40 million, and Joost has $45 million, among many well-capitalized companies in the space.