UStream, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of an interactive video broadcast platform, has raised $20 million in Series B funding from Softbank, at a post-money valuation of approximately $145 million. Softbank also has the option to invest another $55 million, while UStream says it plans to expand the round via “pending” commitments from other investors in Asia and the U.S.
Ustream previously raised over $11 million from DCM Capital and Band of Angels.
Ustream, the leader in live streaming to Internet and mobile devices, today announced a $75 million Series B funding round lead by SOFTBANK of Japan, one of Asia’s largest internet and telecom companies with a large mobile presence. Additional funding commitments are pending from other investors in the U.S. and Asia. The funding will help fuel Ustream’s growth in the U.S. and Asia Pacific, specifically to pursue opportunities in Asia in Japan, China, Korea and India.
“Asia offers a significant, untapped market opportunity for streaming video,” said John Ham, Ustream founder and CEO. “SOFTBANK will enable us to develop this opportunity and deliver on our vision of live streaming video everywhere. We look forward to deploying these resources to accelerate our growth in the United States and Asia Pacific.”
The live streaming market is rapidly growing. More than 3.4 million viewers watched the live red carpet pre-show of the American Music Awards in 2009 and more than 3.8 million watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama via Ustream in January 2009.
Ustream delivers some of the most popular live streaming video programming, delivering premium and celebrity-powered events in partnership with leading media companies. The company had the first live streaming application for the iPhone available in Apple’s App Store. Its iPhone applications have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times.
Ustream’s one-to-many live streaming encourages broadcast-to-viewer and viewer-to-viewer interaction, empowering a much more engaging experience for everyone involved. Users can interact during events using Ustream’s Social Stream, which enables real-time dialogue through Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and AIM integrations.
“Since DCM’s lead investment in the Series A, we’ve worked closely with Ustream’s founders to execute upon its vision to build the company into a truly global media company,” said Gen Isayama, DCM general partner and member of the Ustream board of directors. “SOFTBANK’s involvement and financial support will be instrumental in enabling the company to connect live venues and viewers anywhere in the world through any internet-connected device.”
Asia presents a very unique environment to foster a live streaming platform service like Ustream, specifically because of advancements in infrastructure, better mobile 3G penetration versus the U.S., and a rapidly growing base of internet users.
Ustream is the live interactive video broadcast platform that enables anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size. In less than two minutes, anyone can become a broadcaster by creating their own channel on Ustream or by broadcasting through their own site, empowering them to engage with their audience and further build their brand. Visit Ustream.com to start a broadcast now or learn more about broadcasting. Ustream’s Shiba Inu Puppy Cam, seen by more than 15 million viewers worldwide, was listed as one of 2008’s top 10 Web videos (Source: Associated Press). Ustream powered more than 3.8 million streams during the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
SOFTBANK GROUP offers its customers a range of services including mobile communications, broadband infrastructure, fixed-line telecommunications, internet culture, e-Commerce, and others. For more information, please visit the website below. http://www.softbank.co.jp/en/index.html