from the April 2016 issue

Beamr raises $15M while acquiring US Vanguard Video

It was reported that Tel Aviv-based streaming video startup Beamr has closed their Series C round with $15 million in new funding. The round was led by Disruptive Growth, with existing investors Marker and Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavours.

Along with this exciting news of their latest funding, it was announced that the company was buying Vanguard Video for an undisclosed sum, bringing with them strong capabilities in handling H.265/HEVC and H.264 codec video technologies.

Beamr was founded by CEO Sharon Carmel in 2009, raising a $9.5 million Series A in 2014 from Marker LLC and Innovation Endeavours. Working in the field of media optimization, the company has made significant strides in reducing the bitrate and size of media for streaming while maintaining the high quality viewing experience.

A veteran of the tech industry, Carmel's first company Emblaze Systems IPOed at the LSE's AIM in 1996 for $160 million. The company developed what they claim to be the first vector-based graphics player on the Internet before opening up a cellular digital video operation.

Then in in 2001, he founded and ran the web hosting service BeInSync. He later sold it to Phoenix Technologies for $25 million in 2008 where he took on the position of VP and Chief Scientist Synchronization and Continuity Team at his new employer.

Carmel has built a long career in the tech field, moving with the growth of technology from the earlier days of CDs, to the early days of the cloud, and now in the optimization of streaming for media.

According to a Geektime analyst Rinat Korbet, Carmel's career has followed a path of smart innovations in data transfer technologies. Based on his successful career in this loosely connected string of ventures, he is likely to have garnered investor confidence for continuing to build his company.

Following the funding, the company now boasts 80 employees in Tel Aviv, Palo Alto, and St. Petersburg. While still too early to tell, the new funding could help lead to more acquisitions as the company continues to build up their capabilities and improve their offering.

Despite the rapid advance of faster Internet speeds, time continues to be a factor in the consumption of media, whether it be on desktop or mobile. At the same time, the public expects to see HD or 4K quality video, beamed right to their devices.

Beamr's approach to meeting both of these needs is to significantly shrink the file size and lower the load capacity demanded for viewing these images and video. In the case of JPEGs, they claim to be able to cut as much as 80% off the file size, while achieving nearly 50% with video.

Beyond the basics of saving valuable space on devices, their optimization capabilities without the cutting of quality means that they can transfer more data for cheaper prices. Especially as data use caps are being discussed by cellular providers. As a content model, video is only growing in popularity. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index report from 2015, video is likely to comprise 80% of Internet traffic by 2019, up from the 64% reported in 2014.

If this is the direction that the Internet is going, solutions like Beamr's will be crucial for keeping the pipes of data transfer from getting clogged up.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report April 2016

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