Profile – VSkype

Company: vSkype

Location: Santa Cruz, California

Launch Date: June 15, 2005

What is it?

vSkype is a new product launch by Santa Cruz Networks (disclaimer: Keith Teare, a partner at Archimedes Ventures, was formerly the CEO of Santa Cruz Networks).

vSkype is an add-on to Skype that lets you have up to 200 people on a video call. We tested the software out this morning and it works very, very well. Voice and video quality was more than acceptable.

A bunch of video add-ons for Skype have emerged over the last few weeks, including jyve and spontania. We have not tested these services yes and so cannot compare them with vSkype.

In their own words, “How is vSkype Beta different from other Skype video plug-ins? vSkype Beta provides fast real-time video between you and all of your Skype contacts – up to 2.3 frames per second (fps) for anyone using a standard 56K modem, and up to 24 fps for anyone using DSL, a cable modem, or a corporate broadband connection like a T1 line. vSkype Beta also allows you to share display data. Any open application, or even the entire desktop, can be viewed by other participants during a vSkype Beta call. In addition, vSkype Beta’s “Add to Call” feature allows you invite other Skype contacts to your existing call. This eliminates the disruption of having to create a new call each time you would like to add new callers. With vSkype Beta it is possible for up to 200 people to participate in a single call or meeting without degrading overall performance. All those people can broadcast video at the same time, if they choose, and each participant can view any 8 people at a given time.”

“vSkype Beta allows users to securely conduct video calls in groups from 2 to 200 and share applications, spreadsheets, presentations, or photos with others on a call. In future releases users will be able to download and play Santa Cruz Network’s games with other Skype users and access our library of camera personalities, wallpaper, and drawing tools. Professional users will be provided with various call controls, white boarding, meeting moderation, bandwidth control, and recording and archiving tools through our network of partners.”

Om Malik has a great comment on vSkype: “This cannot be good for NetMeeting or Web-Ex, which will have tough time competing with a much lower cost offerings. I think this product has a good chance of becoming a major enterprise play.”

Given that both of these companies share Draper Fisher Jurvetson as an investor, I would not be surprised if an acquisition is coming.

vSkype Features:

  • up to 200 simultaneous users (!)
  • great video and audio quality
  • share any application (powerpoint, websites, etc. with the group) (last screen shot shows Keith sharing the TechCrunch website with me)
  • ability to turn off video but leave audio on, for those “bad hair days”
  • easy invites to all or some of your skype contacts to get them using it.
  • if you don’t have a video cam, you can still participate with audio and see everyone else’s video

Screen Shots:


Barry Spencer – Founder, Chairman, & CTO
Timothy C. Draper – Director
Joe Costello – Director
Robert A. Troy – Director

Relevant Links:

Download vSkype
SantaCruzNetworks Press/News
Om Malik on vSkype
Got Root on vSkype
Skype Journal on vSkype (great post)
Silicon Beat – Skype and Video Calls
Standard Deviations on vSkype
DigitalTechNews on vSkype