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March 05, 2009

All in a Day's Work: Vidyo Secures $15M in Funding, Names New CFO and Signs Deal with Teliris

By Michelle Robart, TMCnet Editor


HD video conferencing solutions provider, Vidyo has been all over the news wires lately for its continuous efforts to innovate and remain competitive in the market despite the economic downturn.
 
Today the company claiming to be the very first to deliver personal telepresence has made three major announcements.
 
Although many Venture Capital companies are grasping their money tightly in these rough economic times, Vidyo (News - Alert) was able secure $15 million in funding in record time. This brings the total amount of capital raised by the company to $38 million since its inception in 2005.
 
How was Vidyo able to do this? Well, before the Hackensack, New Jersey-based startup came into the market, HD video conferencing solutions were more of a dream then a reality. With their expensive price tag (News - Alert), large equipment and complicated instructions, video conferencing solutions were only used by major corporations.
 
But today, companies of all sizes are able to make use of Vidyo’s HD video conferencing solutions saving them travel, network and IT expenses as well as reducing their carbon footprint. Business professionals now have the ability to effectively and affordably communicate via HD video conferencing over the Internet.
 
With this additional funding, Vidyo hopes to expand its sales, marketing and product development efforts as well as better support its growing customer base and partners.
 
Menlo Ventures led the latest funding round and was joined by existing investors: Rho Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds and Star Ventures. With this new funding round, Menlo Ventures' (News - Alert) Managing Director, Doug Carlisle, joins the Vidyo Board.
 
Vidyo CEO Ofer Shapiro said they are excited to have Menlo Ventures lead the company’s third financing round.
 
“Last year they made a small initial investment that provided them the ability to evaluate Vidyo's potential and performance and they liked what they saw," said Shapiro. "The fact that we are able to raise a substantial amount of funding from such top tier investors during this global economic downturn, speaks volumes about the strength of our technology and products in the video conferencing market.”
 
"We see Vidyo's potential to disrupt the video conferencing market," added Carlisle. "In monitoring the company's development over the past six months, we have observed their formation of important partnerships and rapid market acceptance. We are convinced that Vidyo will see significant growth in 2009."
 
The second major announcement made today by Vidyo is the appointment of Ezra Sofer as the company’s new chief financial officer.
 
Sofer brings more than 20 years of experience in finance management and operations positions to Vidyo. He previously served as CFO for Finjan, a global provider of real-time secure Web gateway solutions. As CFO, Soferwas responsible for the finance, system administration, customer support and operations for the company's worldwide operations.
 
"Ezra brings to Vidyo a broad base of experience and an in-depth knowledge of corporate finance," stated Shapiro. "With his proven leadership across the financial and operations spectrum, we are confident that Ezra will be an asset to all areas of Vidyo's business. I am happy to welcome him to our team."
 
At first, Sofer claims he was a bit skeptical about Shapiro’s claims about the growth potential of Vidyo.
 
“Once I had a chance to view the dramatic acceptance of Vidyo's technology in the marketplace, I was sold and couldn't wait to join the company,” he explained.
 
In addition to this news, Vidyo also revealed a new strategic partnership with Teliris, a company providing of immersive telepresence solutions.
 
Teleris has licensed VidyoTechnology in an effort to enhance specific elements of its product portfolio. With VidyoTechnology, Teliris (News - Alert) will be one of the first companies to deliver telepresence using the latest video standard -- H.264/SVC. This standard is a huge advancement over older video technologies that are often used by other telepresence providers.
 
"We welcome Vidyo into our family of strong and innovative partners," said Marc Trachtenberg (News - Alert), Teliris CEO and co-founder, "and look forward to a long relationship of leveraging Vidyo technology."
 
Shapiro believes that this new partnership is proof the visual communications solution providers are continuing to adopt the H.264/SVC standard.
 
"We believe SVC-based HD video communications can open new applications in all variants of the communication experience. We are honored and excited that Teliris has selected our 21st century technology,” he added.
 
Vidyo has been successful in its endeavor to provide innovative, cost-effective HD video conferencing solutions. The company chose the right industry to get into as the video conferencing market is experiencing a strong growth period.
 
Frost & Sullivan recently reported that it expects “accelerated adoption leading to a six-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (2008-2014) in revenues of 16.3 percent.”  The market research company predicts annual revenues in the video conferencing market to hit a whopping $4.2 billion.
 
In a December newsletter, Wainhouse Research said that the video conference market is currently experiencing a shift from big room/telepresence systems to desktop video conferencing, such as what Vidyo is currently offering. 
 
The report reads: “Videoconferencing managers see the widespread deployment of personal video largely limited today by concerns about network bandwidth utilization.  But once that hurdle is crossed, the ability to participate in a video conference from the office or cubicle will reduce the need for room systems. Desktop videoconferencing could increase the use of real-time visual communications and increase demand for multipoint solutions while decreasing the interest in conference room solutions at the same time.”
 
In February, Redmond, Washington-based CoroWare Technologies announced a new partnership with Vidyo in an effort to become a reseller of the VidyoConferencing product line.
 
CoroWare specializes in providing communications and automation products and services to optimize the technology investments of enterprise customers. The company is now offering high-definition (HD) video conferencing solutions for enterprise customers.
 
With this new agreement, CoroWare plans to provide a combination of telepresence products and services to customers including installation and configuration.
 
As further evidence of its brilliance in developing personal telepresence solutions, Vidyo received the 2009 Product of the Year Award in the North American Conferencing and Collaboration Market.
 
Presented by Frost & Sullivan and announced in January, the prestigious award recognizes Vidyo’s success in releasing new video conferencing products powered by a ground-breaking new standard (H.264/SVC) that is quickly achieving market dominance.

Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart



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