Make.TV raises $8.5M from investors including Microsoft

Microsoft campus
Microsoft Ventures contributed to the funding round.

German-based Make.TV, whose cloud-based platform helps broadcasters organize and deliver high-grade live video streams, said it has raised $8.5 million. VentureBeat reported that Voyager Capital led the fundraising round, which also included Microsoft Ventures, Vulcan Capital and Arnold Ventures.

Make.TV, which has now raised $11.5 million since its founding in 2010, has relocated to Seattle as part of the fundraising, but will maintain offices in Los Altos, California, and Cologne, Germany.

As the tech site Xconomy explained, Make.TV’s software helps video producers create a unified stream, combining video produced with professional cameras with that coming from mobile devices, social networks and other online sources. It can function as a dashboard for producers monitoring the location of reporters in the field. A key budget hook is that Make.TV’s Acquire smartphone app can replace much of the camera and communications equipment that a TV news crew currently has to pack into a van.

Once the video is collected and optimized, the company’s technology allows broadcasters, online publishers, and others with valuable video content to distribute it to online destinations. Those could include Facebook Live and Twitch, content delivery networks including Akamai and Limelight, as well as broadcast networks.

“High-quality live broadcasting currently relies on expensive proprietary systems and physical equipment, which limits contributions,” Make.TV cofounder and CEO Andreas Jacobi told VentureBeat. “We’re helping publishers and broadcasters to be more dynamic, as they can now take advantage of the fact that almost everyone can be a high-quality live broadcaster, either with their smartphone for news and sports or with their game platform for esports.”

Jacobi said the company has about 50 customers, including esports broadcaster ESL, Viacom, FOX Sports Brasil, RTL2, Germany’s SWR, and Swiss public broadcaster SRF. ESL uses 600 hours of live programming a day across its various channels, he said.

Voyager General Partner Erik Benson and former Adobe Systems CEO Bruce Chizen have joined Make.TV’s board as part of the financing. Seattle-based Voyager has made digital video a key part of its overall investment strategy. “Our investment thesis back in the early 2000s was that software would replace hardware in the processing of videos,” Benson told VentureBeat. In 2008, the venture capital firm backed Elemental Technologies, a maker of video processing software that was acquired by Amazon Web Services in 2015.

Make.TV charges a monthly subscription fee based on the amount of incoming feeds and outputs. For now, the startup focuses on professional contributions but sees potential growth from independent contributors.