Emerging from stealth mode, an IP video startup called Layer3 TV and staffed by cable industry veterans announced that it has raised $21 million in a Series A funding round.
Describing itself as "a next-generation cable provider" combining "the best of television, social media, and digital life," the company is headed up by several notable cable industry veterans, including Jeff Binder as CEO, Dave Fellows as CTO, and Chuck Hasek as head of video technology. Binder previously founded the video-on-demand company Broadbus Technologies, which was sold to Motorola in 2006. Fellows held the title of CTO at both Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and ATT Broadband. And Hasek was most recently in place at Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) as the principal architect of video systems.
North Bridge Venture Partners and Evolution Media Growth Partners, which is a joint venture between private equity firm TPG Growth and Evolution Media Capital, co-led the initial funding round.
Layer3 TV has been flying under the radar for months. In a conversation with Light Reading back at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas two months ago, executives were unwilling to provide details about the company's launch plans except to suggest that Layer3 will not focus on legacy cable technology. Today's announcement was still light on details, but it does hint that Layer3 will work directly with programmers, and that it will connect the television experience to the Internet of things.
“Massive consolidation in the cable industry has created a greater need for innovative startups to step out and lead. Layer3 TV’s technology aims to enhance the current eco-system, while providing consumers with simple, cool and technically advanced television solutions that can keep pace with the ‘Internet of Things.’ This is key to creating significant value," said CTO Fellows.
The press release also explains that, while Layer3 wants to deliver a "differentiated video consumer experience," it wants to do so by fitting "within today's programming and distribution paradigm."
“In today’s connected world, the television is becoming more than just a lean-back experience -- it is becoming the hub for state-of-the-art technology in the living room,” said CEO Binder. “Layer3 TV merges the television experience with consumers’ digital lives in ways that engage and enhance the programming and distribution eco-systems. We intend on delivering that promise.”
The Layer3 TV leadership team also includes Eric Kuhn as head of marketing, who previously ran social media for United Talent Agency and CNN, and Vic Odryna as head of product development, formerly CEO of Idea Arc and ZeeVee. North Bridge Partner Jamie Goldstein is joining the company's board of directors.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading