Former Insight founders set to lead new venture Penthera Partners

Insight Communications' co-founders Michael Willner and Sidney Knafel are back in the saddle, six months after the cable MSO was acquired by Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) for $3 billion. The pair are investing in and leading new media technology venture Penthera Partners, with Willner becoming CEO and Knafel serving as vice chairman.

Penthera is a little different than a cable company. It's a privately held software firm that has developed a patented software engine to efficiently move HD video between the cloud and smartphones, tablets and IP-enabled set-top boxes. Willner, who was CEO at Insight, will "guide Penthera as CEO through the next phase in its evolution," a news release said.

True to his cable background, Willner avoided the term IPTV in a news release quote.

"I've devoted much of my career to delivering forward-looking, innovative TV and broadband services to U.S. consumers," Willner said. "Now, as consumers are shifting their viewing habits--they're viewing, creating and sharing video on smartphones, tablets and other Internet-enabled devices. With its rich portfolio of products and IP, Penthera is uniquely poised to help the cable industry and other technology companies roll out innovative IP-based video solutions."

While most of that statement indicates that Penthera will be focused on the TV Everywhere aspects of IP, there is a hint that Willner will also be dabbling more into the IPTV arena than he did at Insight.

Penthera, in its boilerplate, described its customer base as "tier-1 network operators, smartphone manufacturers, TV networks and other entities." The new leaders will, no doubt, be expected to add cable MSOs to that list.

"Our transition to a new media technology company, which is focused on next generation consumer experiences, is the next logical step for us," Willner said in the news release. "I have always focused on new, relevant products and services that benefit consumers."

For more:
- see this Penthera news release

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