Profile: Vuze

Online-Video Startup Vuze Pockets $20 Million

TiVo Co-Founder Ramsay Joins Board; Vuze Hires Execs

By Todd Spangler — Multichannel News, 12/19/2007 3:51:00 AM

Vuze, a startup that runs a peer-to-peer Internet video distribution
service, said it has raised $20 million in third-round funding and
named TiVo co-founder Mike Ramsay to its board of directors.

The funding brings Vuze’s total raised to date to $34 million. The
round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the venture-capital
firm where Ramsay is a partner, and included participation from
existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Greycroft Partners, BV Capital
and CNET chairman Jarl Mohn.

Vuze — formerly known as Azureus
— claimed it has signed more than 100 premium-content partners,
including Showtime Networks, Starz Entertainment, BBC, A&E
Television Network’s Biography Channel and A&E, and Rainbow Media’s
IFC.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup said that since launching in
January 2007, the service has had more than 15 million client downloads.

Vuze also announced the hiring of several executives, including
senior vice president of content Rick Phillips, who previously
negotiated content deals for Microsoft’s Xbox Live Video Marketplace;
vice president of marketing John Fernandes, previously in charge of
eBay’s global marketing and research; and senior vice president of ad
sales Jim Diaz, who has worked at NBC and Excite.com.

The startup’s software uses the BitTorrent-developed peer-to-peer protocol to distribute video files over the Internet by using users’ own computers as relay points.

Last month Vuze filed a petition
with the Federal Communications Commission, urging the agency to
implement rules that would prevent Internet service providers from
"interfering" with P2P traffic. That came after Comcast, responding to
allegations in an Associated Press report, acknowledged that it delays certain kinds of Internet traffic, which it has defended as "reasonable network management."

Consumer interest groups also complained to the FCC about Comcast’s bandwidth-throttling practices, and at least one disgruntled subscriber sued the cable operator over the issue.

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