Pioneers of the Inevitable, the company behind the open source Songbird music player, has had a tough year. Founding CEO Rob Lord left the company earlier this year after burning through $8 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and Atlas Ventures. “We were left without a game plan,” said one person close to the company to me confidentially.
The company has struggled through, facing what all startups face when they run out of money – shut down or raise new money at unfavorable terms if they can get it. New CEO Jerrell Jimerson has managed to scrape together a new round of financing, we’ve confirmed. Atlas Ventures is participating, but Sequoia Capital has backed out. The new round also recapitalizes the company – it will wash out old investors and drop the valuation substantially. That means Lord, who remains a board member, will lose most of his equity in the company.
Songbird may have new legs, though. Another source tells us the company has a deal with Phillips to have Songbird included in 5 million Phillips music players. There’s a chance for Songbird to become a platform for Apple competitors to work from, much like Android provides Apple competitors an easy way to compete in the phone market.
Will it work? Investors seem to be interested enough to put more money behind the effort. And the company now, at least, has a game plan.