Monday, October 29, 2007

Don't Stop Believing - Imagine Communications Scores $15M for Broadband TV

The Broadband TV niche in Israel is on fire. Following RayV's $8M round earlier this month, Israel-based Imagine Communications announced a second round and a hot upcoming deal.

Imagine develops Personalized TV technologies for video on demand (VOD) and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV). Imagine claims that its next-generation multiplexing technology, the QOD Gateway System, provides operators with:
  • 50%-100% more streams on existing network infrastructure
  • Greatly enhanced video quality
  • Future PersonalizedTV applications such as targeted ads and personalized audio
The platform uses a variable bit rate (VBR) platform. By employing VBR, a technique that changes bit rates on the fly, Imagine believes it can cram 15 standard-definition streams into one QAM channel, versus 10 streams using fixed, constant bit rate (CBR) technology. The efficiency also applies to high-definition television.

Founded in October 2004, Imagine Comm was previously known as QoD (Quality on Demand), the name of its initial product. Imagine previously raised $9.2M from Carmel Ventures II and Columbia Capital back in 2006. In its current round, Imagine Comm is raising $15M from previous backers and according to rumors also from US based Court Square Ventures (CSV). In addition to the financing round, Imagine Communications is also rumored to be on the verge of signing a significant long term partnership with a European communications mogul.

The founders of imagine are both veterans of BigBand Networks, one of Israel's biggest IPOs ever. CTO and Co-founder Ron Gutman, former director of customer solutions at BigBand and SVP of Product Doron Segev, former lead of product and engineering for video apps at Big Band.
In June this year, BigBand filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Imagine Comm, claiming that Imagine's co-founders are infringing three of BigBand's patents on video processing and bandwidth management.

The company is based in Cardiff by the sea, CA and has offices in Israel as well. It currently has a head team of 35.

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