GridNetworks Lands $9.5 Million


Internet content distributor GridNetworks landed $9.5 million in Series A funding this week. While one of the three investors is Panorama Capital, the other two backers pique my curiosity because their identities haven’t yet been disclosed… and I get the sense they may be something other than VC firms.


Chances are you haven’t heard of GridNetworks and, prior to speaking with CEO Tony Naughtin, I hadn’t either. They’ve developed an “orchestrated, managed” hybrid P2PCDN service to stream Internet video at up to 1080i with high fidelity audio and requiring throughput of only 768Kbps down and 128Kbps up. They’re currently operating as a white label service provider for some smaller Internet TV plays, though their goals are more lofty. I think we’ll be seeing GridNetworks go after big media and telecom as they continue to ramp up and offer video streaming services at literally a “small fraction” of the conventional CDN-served video cost. Though, as my pal Om notes, the market has become “highly competitive.”

Today GridNetworks provides solely a Windows P2P client (GridConnector) and media player, but early next year cross-platform Silverlight software will be released. Additionally, as dictated by clients (or perhaps those silent investors), they intend to embed their technology in home routers and even set-top boxes (think Vudu or even traditional VOD) – bypassing the computer altogether. Currently Windows Media Video (MS DRM) is the format of choice, though other content and technologies could be incorporated depending on partner requirements.