Imagine TiVo, the recording device that allows viewers to watch their favorite shows whenever they want too, on steroids. That’s how Jeffrey Binder, the chief executive of Broadbus Technologies, describes his company, which just closed its Series A round with $12 million.
“We have a different approach than TiVo. It operates on a single drive and you need an additional box to use it,” says Binder. “We’re TiVo on steroids. You don’t need a box to watch us and we have hundreds of shows and movies in storage so it doesn’t have to even be something that needed to be taped. TiVo is like a PC and Broadbus is like the Internet.”
Broadbus’ system is sold to cable providers. End users will access the programming with their regular remote controls from a menu on their TV.
Apparently the VCs were impressed. Battery Ventures and Charles River Ventures co-led the round. Additional funding came from Comcast Interactive Capital, the venture arm of Comcast Cable, Wolf Ventures and several individuals. Santo Politi, a general partner with Charles River Ventures and Todd Dagres, a general partner with Battery Ventures, will join the company’s board of directors as a result of the round.
“Every company is always looking for more, but $12 million will satisfy our business plan. We’re happy with the agreements we made. We really wanted to get involved with VCs who understood the cable space and both firms do. Santo Politi was the president of Blockbuster Video. We also could have taken more money, there were a lot of interested firms, but we thought this was best,” says Binder.
Dick McGlinchey, a venture partner at Battery, who is now working with the company on strategies going forward, says Broadbus has what it takes to make it. “We were really impressed with the technology and management team. They are in an ideal spot, they know the space and understand the challenges,” says McGlinchey. “There are lots to do to get the product ready and in to the cable business.”
Launched in 1999, until now Broadbus funded by individuals, had only brought in a couple million dollars. Broadbus plans to use its new funds to execute on its business plan and facilitate the strategic product launch of its Video On Demand server system.
The company already has trials set up with some cable operators and while Binder wouldn’t say which are involved, it is pretty safe to assume Comcast is probably one such operator. Binder expects Broadbus to be to market next year.
The cost of watching whatever, whenever varies. “We’re still working on this but models range from no cost to consumers to $5, $10, $15, $20. Consumers are willing to pay for Blockbuster and Pay-Per-View,” says Binder.
In addition to the round of venture funding, Broadbus has moved its offices from Chicago to Boxborough, Mass. “Boston is a great place to be a startup right now. There is a great pool of talent available and it’s located central to the cable players in New York and Philadelphia,” says Binder.