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Clearleap Clears Funding Gap

Video technology software startup Clearleap has raised another $20 million, thanks to a Series C funding round led by Susquehanna Growth Equity and including existing investors Trinity Ventures and Noro-Moseley.

Clearleap says the cash infusion will support domestic service growth and continued expansion into the European and Latin American markets, as well as enable it to more than double in size. The company, which has about 100 employees and has now raised $36 million since it started, has Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) as its biggest service provider customers.

Founded in 2007, Clearleap arrived on the scene just as cable companies were beginning to explore a possible transition to IP-based video delivery. Clearleap CEO and co-founder Braxton Jarratt said he realized it would be difficult for existing cable vendors to make their technology work over IP and thought it was "worth taking a big bet on this and starting an entire company focused on software infrastructure for this transition."

Focusing on IP infrastructure gives Clearleap two sets of customer targets. Its ClearFlow platform is designed for programmers, who have to ingest, process, and deliver large amounts of content to service providers. The ClearPlay platform, on the other hand, is built for service providers, who have to manage, secure, and deliver that video to consumers.

Although a lot of industry discussion centers on IP delivery to consumer devices, the transition to video transport over terrestrial IP networks from satellite in the first half of the process is equally significant. Clearleap's major programmer customers for its ClearFlow software platform include Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) and the MSO-backed video-on-demand distribution company In Demand LLC (See Putting TV Everywhere on Auto-Pilot.)

In an interview with Light Reading, Jarratt noted that In Demand is "literally shutting off all the systems and the satellite delivery transponders that they were using for delivery of all these movies and using us exclusively."

Like service providers, however, programmers are still at the beginning of their IP migration. That's why Jarratt and his investors think there is major growth potential for Clearleap both internationally and at home in the US. In a press release, managing director Scott Feldman at Susquehanna Growth Equity said, "The proliferation of internet-connected devices with video streaming capabilities has caused content producers and distributors to seek new solutions to help them efficiently manage their multiscreen, TV-everywhere experience. Clearleap has developed a software platform that offers purveyors of video content a cost effective, scalable alternative to high fixed-cost, hardware-dependent solutions."

Jarratt also believes Clearleap has a unique competitive advantage because its employees have experience in the traditional TV technology world, as well as in-house at major Internet infrastructure companies such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT).

"I think we're one of the few, if not the only company that really does bridge both sides… the online and traditional media world in terms of our understanding of the business, our people, [and] the way we built our products," Jarratt said.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable

albreznick 11/13/2013 | 11:15:48 PM
Clear leap for ClearLeap One small step for man, one giant leap for ClearLeap. So ClearLeap clearly has ambitious plans, Mari. Where do you think they'll strike first? 
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