Start-up Elemental Technologies, whose GPU (graphical processing
unit)-based transcoding products are starting to find favor with
broadcasters, has completed a $7.5 million Series B venture financing
round and picked up Disney's venture arm, Steamboat Ventures, as a new
Steamboat focuses on early- to mid-stage technology companies pursuing
digital media and consumer technology opportunities, and has
previously invested in companies such as EdgeCast Networks and Pure
Digital (inventors of The Flip camera, and subsequently acquired by
Cisco). Elemental's Series B round also included General Catalyst and
Voyager Capital, which participated in the company's initial Series A
financing round back in June 2008.
"Steamboat clearly recognizes the opportunities and challenges created
by consumers' insatiable appetite for video," said Steamboat managing
director Scott Hilleboe in a statement. "Elemental's disruptive video
processing solutions are poised to change
expectations regarding content delivery to any device or screen with
exceptional video quality and unmatched price-to-performance. The
company's technology allows a publish-once, display-anywhere model,
supporting the broadest distribution of rich media."
The investment by Steamboat, which adds Hilleboe to Elemental's board
of directors, is significant as Elemental tries to gain a foothold in
the competitive transcoding market, says Elemental CEO and co-founder
"They're a nice fit," he says. "They're a VC that really understands
the media business, and they have a lot of credibility in the video
The Steamboat investment is not surprising, considering that Disney is
already an Elemental customer. According to Blackman, two months ago
ABC began using the company's Elemental Server product to prepare the
network's content in the HTTP adaptive streaming format used by
Apple's iPad and other Apple devices.
Other early Elemental customers include CBS Interactive, Time Warner
Cable's Oceanic Cable and station group News-Press & Gazette. Blackman
says that his company is drawing strong interest from programmers
looking to serve video "over-the-top" to broadband-enabled TVs and
other connected devices as well as mobile phones and computers.
"That has become a requirement pretty quickly, and I think some of the
traditional vendors have been caught by surprise," says Blackman.
In that vein, he adds that Elemental is actively pursuing partnerships
with larger companies to increase distribution of its technology.