Selling on-demand video streaming services has netted the Israeli startup Vidmind $30 million in financing from Russia’s answer to Walmart Stores, Trellas.
Trellas acquired a majority stake in Vidmind with its $30 million investment as the company prepares to launch its pay TV service TVzor. Through TVzor, Trellas will sell a set top box and over the top contnet with free-to-air channels, video on demand premium channels and in-video applications and games — much like Walmart with its Vudu service.
Vidmind sells both a set top box and video as a service capabilities, allowing new television providers to launch primary services that the company claims exceed the features and capabilities that exist through either cable or satellite services.
Trellas is launching the service in Russia, but Vidmind has international aspirations. “We are looking for evolving markets,” says Danny Peled, Vidmind’s chief executive. “Asia and Europe and South America are definitely interesting markets for us,” Peled says. “Compared to those markets, the U.S. is really saturated with many players already playing from the biggest brands, which makes it more difficult to break through.”
Peled thinks of Vidmind as selling the capability for any company to become a virtual cable operator. The Israeli entrepreneur began working on the technology that would become Vidmind in 2010. Although the company has the ability to deliver all of its services via cloud offerings, Peled says that the set top box is still the familiar use case for most television consumers and the company felt it had to include a hardware component with its offering.
“At the end of the day, it’s a question of who is controlling the user interface,” he says.
For TVzor chief executive, Mikhail Nepomnyaschy, the value was obvious. “Vidmind provided us with a turnkey solution that allowed us to leapfrog two generations within the Russian TV broadcasting landscape and let us focus on what we do best – content, distribution, and marketing,” he said in a statement.