Veebeam, the Cambridge company behind a device that wirelessly streams any content from laptops to television is looking to develop a version of the technology for mobile devices following the announcement of a $6 million (£3.8m) funding round.
The company that was once Artimi and focuses on ultra-wideband (UWB) has closed the first tranche of a two part Series B funding round (first revealed by Cambridge Business Media), led by Amadeus Capital Partners, Intel Capital, and Oak Investment Partners.
While the main thrust of the funding is to market the new Veebeam media player, future development work will include a device that is able to function on mobile phones and other portable media devices.
“The application that this particular Veebeam device is used for is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Jerry Loraine two weeks ago, Veebeam’s VP of Engineering and Operations. “We’re always looking at media for mobile phones or any portable device with media on it.”
Company director and founder of Amadeus, Hermann Hauser, believes mobile computer architecture will be the dominant force in the future, usurping the PC, though in a Veebeam statement he said the focus for now was marketing the existing product.
“Veebeam has reached an exciting inflection point in its development,” said Hauser. “Product development is complete and it’s time to gain market traction. We’re investing now in targeted market development and working capital to drive revenue growth.”
The Veebeam media player allows users to play video content on the television while it is minimised on the laptop, allowing them to open other programmes without disturbing the television. The company says the device stands out as the only ‘content agnostic’ media player – anything on a laptop can be streamed to TV.
Sales for the company began in September following launch at DEMO 2010 in California. Shipping is expected to commence this month, though Veebeam CEO, Andrew Vought, said it was a little premature to start analyising sales figures: “I am happy with the response and have a good backlog, but the true test for Veebeam will be the Christmas market.”
The other investors on the most recent round are Bay Partners, Formative Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Vision Capital. “Right from the start it was clear that Veebeam had come up with a great concept that would be a hit in an extremely vibrant and competitive market,” said Bandel Carano of Oak Investment Partners.
Unlike its competitors who produce UWB reference designs, Veebeam has overhauled its business model and transformed from a semiconductor firm into what Loraine calls “the smallest vertically integrated consumer electronics maker in the world.”
The company designs the central processors, the software, has it built and assembled in Asia, sells it from its web site and distributes it from its warehouses. The market focus is currently US, Canada and Europe, but it has its sights on territories with similar product safety requirements, such as India, China and southeast Asia.
Veebeam was known as Staccato International until March this year, a company formed in November 2008 by the merger of Cambridge-based Artimi and Staccato in California. That merger coincided with a $20m fundraising, referred to as the new company’s Series A, though Artimi and Staccato had raised $113m between them pre-merger ($50 and $63m respectively).
A Cambridge fabless semiconductor at a time when the city was producing several world class companies in the sector such as ARM, CSR and Alphamosaic (bought for £68.6m by Broadcom), Artimi had a high profile and strong expectations.
However, though the company was pleased with its software, the chip technology was not developing as strongly as was needed, which led it to Staccato, a company whose hardware Artimi admired and to which they could add software superiority.
Artimi branding can still be seen emblazoned on parts of the Veebeam office on Hills Road, while old Staccato International corporate literature is littered across some shelves.
Artimi never had a device based on its chip architecture reach the market, which makes this release and subsequent fundraising a major milestone in Artimi’s history, as well as Veebeam’s.