Boxee just announced that the company has closed a $6 million Series B financing round led by Boston-based General Catalyst with participation by prior investors Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. Neil Sequeira from General Catalyst will join the Boxee board. Boxee will use this money to hire more developers as it gets ready to expand beyond the desktop and work on embedded versions for connected TVs, game consoles, and set-top boxes. In addition, Boxee plans to attract more content from independent producers and big media companies to its platform by offering ad-based and subscription-based services to them.
Getting Into the Living Room
The company just raised its first round of venture capital funding last November, but when we talked to Boxee's CEO Avner Ronen yesterday, he stressed that the company thinks this is the right time to expand. Ronen noted that Boxee will use the money to grow its development team to about 20 people, as it sees a chance to become a major player on connected TVs and set-top boxes. These devices are only now starting to gain a foothold in people's living rooms and will give Boxee a chance to go mainstream.
Currently, the software runs on Macs, Windows, Linux, and Apple TV, but while it is getting easier to connect a PC to a large TV set in the living room, this is definitely still a niche market. In order to reach a larger audience, Boxee will have to get its software onto TVs, game consoles, and set-top boxes directly. The company is already talking to a number of manufacturers, though Ronen wasn't ready to announce any partnerships yet.
Ronen also told us that the company plans to offer a platform for content producers and doesn't want to get into the content business itself. Instead, Boxee will give media companies and independent producers options to sell subscriptions to their content or give users access to content on an a la carte basis. Major League Baseball started to offer access to its content to its Premium subscribers on Boxee last month.