Decentralized video infrastructure platform Livepeer raises $8M Collection A • TechCrunch


Video is the core leisure medium of the net. Platforms like YouTube, Twitch, Netflix and extra ship thousands and thousands of hours of movies to hungry customers day-after-day, and people deliveries will solely intensify as video video games move increasingly to streaming models.

But, delivering all of that content material stays an costly and difficult endeavor. The biggest platforms make use of tons of of video-encoding specialist engineers to optimize the transcoding and supply prices of their product, whereas additionally paying thousands and thousands both for their very own cloud infrastructure or to AWS or Google Cloud. But, few reasonably priced choices exist for startups — corresponding to live-streaming apps like Houseparty (which was bought last week by Epic Games) — and even for big enterprises with streaming wants however with out entry to specialised {hardware}.

That’s the place Livepeer is available in. The brainchild of multi-time founder duo Doug Petkanics and Eric Tang, Livepeer provides a decentralized platform for video encoding centered on the Ethereum community. Its early success has attracted the eye of media VCs, and the corporate introduced immediately that it has raised an $8 million Collection A enterprise capital spherical led by Northzone. Houseparty founder Ben Rubin joined the spherical as properly, and video infrastructure behemoth Brightcove’s former CEO David Mendels additionally joined as an advisor to the corporate.

Livepeer is actually a market between encoding suppliers (the availability facet) and app builders who want video-streaming providers (the demand facet). Right this moment, builders can integrate Livepeer inside their apps by downloading the node, operating the Livepeer media server and funding their account with Ethereum. To date, greater than 100 occasions have streamed their movies utilizing the platform, though Petkanics admits that they’ve been an “early-adopter, philosophically-aligned crowd.”

At this level within the life cycle of crypto and blockchain, it may be straightforward to be skeptical of next-generation applied sciences constructed on these platforms. However Petkanics believes there’s a distinctive alternative in video that connects properly with this market.

Along with the completely stupendous improve in video streaming throughout the net, there’s a distinctive compute marketplace for encoding: the thousands and thousands of GPUs purchased by crypto miners over the previous few years. These GPUs calculate the hashes required to earn cash in crypto, however in lots of circumstances in accordance with Petkanics, depart idle the opposite processing items on these chips that truly deal with video encoding. Livepeer sees a chance — not less than early within the firm’s progress cycle — to primarily bootstrap on prime of that extra capability for processing energy.

Proper now, Petkanics advised me the corporate has greater than 30 suppliers of compute energy on the platform, and that the “provide facet of the community is operating, and it’s the very last thing that retains me up at evening.”

That extra compute energy is driving considerably decrease costs for encoding. Petkanics stated that Livepeer is 10 occasions cheaper than incumbent streaming suppliers, and with further growth work within the coming years, he believes he can additional enhance that value benefit. Right this moment, he stated that the platform can deal with two streams for roughly 70 cents per day, in comparison with $3 per stream per hour of incumbents (a quantity that absolutely varies throughout firms with totally different ranges of negotiation leverage).

Having compute energy is one factor — getting prospects to make use of it’s one other. The objective of the Collection A funding, together with the corporate’s new Pilot Accomplice Program, is to start implementing purposes outdoors of the crypto-fans and enter the enterprise. The corporate is providing six months free for brand new members as an inducement to strive the platform.

Finally, Petkanics sees Livepeer making a “token coordinating community” that incentivizes extra compute energy to hitch and match the wants of shoppers. Much more curiously, the growing want of explicit video-encoding algorithms means there may be an incentive for builders so as to add new performance to the corporate’s open-source media server, creating a novel way to improve open-source sustainability.

Petkanics and Tang have beforehand worked together with Jordan Cooper on Wildcard, a redesign of the cellular browser that had beforehand raised $10 million, led by Common Catalyst. Earlier than that, they labored collectively at Hyperpublic, which developed databases of native info with an API for builders that sold to Groupon in 2012. Livepeer has 12 staff, with half primarily based in New York Metropolis, and half distributed.

Along with Northzone, Digital Foreign money Group, Libertus, Collaborative Fund, Notation Capital, Compound, North Island and StakeZero joined the spherical.



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