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Video Publishing Platform Ooyala Raises $22 Million, Prepares For Major Asian Expansion

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Advertisers are not the only ones plowing money into the online video space with gusto, you can add large, international investors to that growing list.

This morning, Ooyala announced a $22 million Series D round, led by the CID Group (Shanghai-based venture capital firm) and ITOCHU Technology Ventures (venture unit of the Tokyo-based ITOCHU). The round, which includes previous investors like Sierra Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners, puts the video publishing platform at $42 million raised since its 2007 launch. And according to CEO Jay Fulcher, the company is not done. In order to accommodate robust demand (the latest round was over-subscribed), Ooyala will take on additional investors later this year in a second closing.

Impressive numbers but it’s not just about the money. For Ooyala, saddling up with CID and ITOCHU also represents a highly strategic move, as the company tries to expand its footprint in Asia. “It was a conscious point on our part to chose investors who had great ecosystems to leverage throughout Asia,” Fulcher told TechCrunch. “We are doubling down in Asia.”

Ooyala specializes in hosting videos for large corporate and media clients, such as the Telegraph Media Group, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Dell and General Mills ( full disclosure: Ooyala is also a partner of TechCrunch TV). Their primary product is Backlot, a video management system that allows clients to upload and manage content and get access to analytics. Growth has been strong, with the revenue run rate up 300% year-over-year.

Over the last several months, the startup has committed serious resources to its international plans, setting up shop in Japan via its partnership with NTT Smartconnect and, more recently, Australia. Last week, Ooyala appointed John Treloar (formerly of Adobe) as Managing Director for the Australia and New Zealand region. Although the European and North American market still make up 80% of Ooyala’s business, Fulcher says Asia’s potential for online video demand is tremendous. “We’re quite bullish on the entire theatre, we’ve been in Japan now for some time, the pipeline suggests that there is more and more demand for this kind of technology to power online video,” Fulcher says, “Japan, Taiwan, China, Korea, and Australia — those are our top markets”

What is their strategy? Beyond regional investors, Ooyala is in the process of securing new channel partners in Asia and finalizing deals with several “big anchor customers,” Fulcher says. “The kind of clients that will give us deep access into the area.”

Of course, Ooyala is not the only one. A bevy of video players are also rushing into the far corners of Asia— with fistfuls of cash. Rival Brightcove has raised a whopping $103 million, and has had a strong presence in Japan for several years (the company currently has roughly 100 publisher deals in Japan). In August, Brightcove also announced the appointment of Dennis Rose (a veteran of Citrix) to VP of the Asia-Pacific region.

(Source image: Flickr/David Z.)

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