announced a $75 million Series B funding round lead by SOFTBANK of Japan, one of Asia’s largest internet and telecom companies with a large mobile presence. Additional funding commitments are pending from other investors in the U.S. and Asia. The funding will help fuel Ustream’s growth in the U.S. and Asia Pacific, specifically to pursue opportunities in Asia in Japan, China, Korea and India.
“Asia offers a significant, untapped market opportunity for streaming video,” said John Ham, Ustream founder and CEO. “SOFTBANK will enable us to develop this opportunity and deliver on our vision of live streaming video everywhere. We look forward to deploying these resources to accelerate our growth in the United States and Asia Pacific.”
The live streaming market is rapidly growing. More than 3.4 million viewers watched the live red carpet pre-show of the American Music Awards in 2009 and more than 3.8 million watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama via Ustream in January 2009.
Ustream delivers some of the most popular live streaming video programming, delivering premium and celebrity-powered events in partnership with leading media companies. The company had the first live streaming application for the iPhone available in Apple’s App Store. Its iPhone applications have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times.
Ustream’s one-to-many live streaming encourages broadcast-to-viewer and viewer-to-viewer interaction, empowering a much more engaging experience for everyone involved. Users can interact during events using Ustream’s Social Stream, which enables real-time dialogue through Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and AIM integrations.
“Since DCM’s lead investment in the Series A, we’ve worked closely with Ustream’s founders to execute upon its vision to build the company into a truly global media company,” said Gen Isayama, DCM general partner and member of the Ustream board of directors. “SOFTBANK’s involvement and financial support will be instrumental in enabling the company to connect live venues and viewers anywhere in the world through any internet-connected device.”
Asia presents a very unique environment to foster a live streaming platform service like Ustream, specifically because of advancements in infrastructure, better mobile 3G penetration versus the U.S., and a rapidly growing base of internet users.