Akimbo Alters Strategy (Again), Gets Money


Akimbo showed it’s continuing its quest for a successful strategy today with the unveiling of a new service that enables content providers to publish web video on their own sites. Akimbo says its new offering will take care of the content publishing, front-end navigation and monetization, accommodating multiple transactional models including ad-supported, download-to-own and subscription.

To help it through this latest incarnation, Akimbo secured new financing from investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and Zone Ventures. A call to determine the exact amount of new money raised was not returned by Akimbo by press time.

But will this be the breakout move Akimbo needs?

To recap, Akimbo started off as a hardware company delivering video content to your TV, then it expanded into video on the PC, then it dropped the hardware altogether and switched to creating software for other set-top boxes, and then its CEO left to become a VC with Norwest Venture Partners (which is on the hunt for video startups).

Akimbo’s investors include AT&T and Cisco, so one has to wonder what the future holds for its set-top strategy. Perhaps Akimbo is ceding that particular future to the likes of Apple TV, Comcast and Netflix.

This new decentralized approach means it’s going after individual content providers. But the fact that Akimbo is launching this new initiative with little-known video partner MavTV highlights a flaw in this new strategy. Big content companies like Viacom or Disney already have video solutions and don’t need Akimbo’s services, so the company will have to sign up a lot of smaller players to make any money. And while Akimbo will offer video services like paid downloads and subscriptions, it faces competition in the publish-your-own video space from more established players like Brightcove.

UPDATE: PE Hub reports that Akimbo pulled in $8 million in this latest round, bringing its total raised to $56 million since 1999.



The two companies I wouldn’t try to compete with in the video space:
YouTube – low res, short-form, streaming video
Brightcove – back-end/front-end video player for content owners sites

Given this is another change in direction for this small company, you have to seriously question how much they’ve invested in this new service they’re now offering.
Also the fact they’re not saying how much money they landed means that it wasn’t much at all.

This feels like a last gasp. Too bad.

Andrew Baron

Interesting. Rocketboom decided to stop distributing on Akimbo February 1st due to lack of views on the platform over the last three years. We decided it was actually not worth the time it took to upload to the site since our videos only received a few views per month. Meanwhile Akimbo usually told us that we were one of the most popular content partners on the site so I can imagine that most of the other partners got about zero or one view per month.

The company expected to offer us major revenue from selling itv boxes. Then when that didn’t work, they were going to offer revenue based on partnering with Microsoft Media Center. Then after that didn’t work, it was the AT&T home box. I guess now after that the AT&T deal didn’t work, they have a new, forth plan.

Maybe this time after several years they will be able to offer partners more than a few views per month. As far as a publishing platform, there sure area lot of those out there already. . .

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