Tuning into live online video is often an exercise in frustration. So even though Conviva is being somewhat secretive about what it’s doing, I’m inclined to give the startup — which simply says it’s building a live video platform — a pass for the time being, in the hopes it will some day prevent me from tearing my hair out.
Conviva is announcing today it has raised $20 million in second round funding. The investment came from UV Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Foundation Capital, and brings Conviva’s total funding to $29 million since being founded in November 2006.
In an interview last week, Conviva CEO and President Carlos Ramón would not disclose much about the platform he is building, but said the company already has customers signed. He was happy to talk about the market need, however:
“The first generation of video delivery just doesn’t work,” he said. “It’s like playing Russian roulette. That’s just not the way you run a business, and that’s not the way you monetize content.”
Ramón said the company’s platform would enable content owners to create a “virtual living room” — whatever that means! Conviva has a demo on its site of a car race that users can watch from multiple camera angles simultaneously and chat about in-window.
Conviva has an engineering- and PhD-heavy team of 55 focused on building out its live platform, and along with the investment is touting its board of directors, which includes Ramón, formerly of Akamai; Hui Zhang, its chief scientist and co-founder and a professor at Carnegie Mellon; Ion Stoica, its CTO and co-founder and a professor at UC Berkeley; Mike Ramsay, of NEA and formerly TiVo; Forest Baskett, of NEA and formerly Silicon Graphics; Peter Sonsini, of NEA and formerly VMware; and Adam Grosser of Foundation Capital and formerly Excite@Home.