ViVu said today that it’s received $3 million in Series A funding for its virtual video webcast and collaboration platform, pressuring rival offerings such as Citrix’s (s ctrx) GoToMeeting and and Cisco’s (s csco) WebEx. The round was led by Inventus Capital Partners; Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Quest Ventures and entrepreneur Bill Carrico also participated. ViVu, which until now has been working in stealth mode, will use the funds to bring its service to market.
The service lets you stream high-quality video, track real-time tweets and converse with hundreds of participants of a conference or training session, all from a web browser — with no downloading required. All you need to get started on the $49-a-month service is a laptop equipped with a web camera and Internet access. But unlike WebeEx and GoToMeeting, ViVu’s user interface replicates the experience of being in a conference auditorium or training room; participants are shown in viewing screens located above the stream. That way, you can strike up a conversation with one of the other participants by clicking on their box and typing in an instant message. There’s also a feature that lets you ask a question and the person who’s leading the session can choose interact with you via webcam.
What makes ViVu’s technology stand out even more is it records every aspect of a webcast — from tweets to instant message conversations between meeting participants and the speaker. It also indexes segments so they can be played back immediately. For example, if you want to go back to a certain slide in the presentation, you can just click on it and the video will start playing from that point in the presentation.
Like legendary Silicon Valley companies Hewlett-Packard (s hpq) and Apple (s appl), ViVu got its start in a garage — that of Sudha Valluru, its co-founder, chairman and CEO. Valluru met co-founder Siva Kiran while the two were at Alcatel-Lucent (s alu). ViVu was moved out Valluru’s South San Jose, Calif., garage a year ago; it’s now located in the Plug & Play Tech Center in
Mountain View Sunnyvale.