Limelight Networks, the content delivery technology behind such Web 2.0 leaders as MySpace, Facebook and XBoxLive, has received a new round of funding. Limelight is also widely believed to be the content delivery provider for YouTube. Goldman Sachs led the round of $130 million invested so that Limelight can increase its capacity. Limelight is the number two player in the online content delivery network space, behind Akamai, the service provider for Apple’s iTunes. Panther Express, another content delivery network, received funding this week as well.
This round of investment in Limelight means that one of the key providers of media delivery services, a keystone function in the new web landscape, has received a big boost in strength and a big ally in Goldman Sachs. And this has been finalized at what some people are calling a post-net neutrality time.
Founded in 2001, the Tempe, Arizona based company received received $15 million in funding from the Silicon Valley Bank last summer.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t write about an infrastructure investment here. Net neutrality makes this relevant, though. Advocates of the (now arguably deceased) movement to prevent a two tiered internet consistently point to the importance of cheap bandwidth in making innovation happen. YouTube, for example, sucks bandwidth like there’s no tomorrow and if they had to pay a premium rate (were the net not neutral) then they may not have been able to afford to launch in the first place.
That’s the argument, but the reality is that at a certain point it’s not just Google or YouTube dealing unmediated with the companies that own the “tubes,” if you will. Companies like Limelight stand in the middle. Limelight in particular is a vital part of the infrastructure for some flagship Web 2.0 companies. Not to mention they have been the advertiser that has kept Doug Kaye’s excellent ITConversations alive – they deserve thanks for that.
Just as online storage becoming a commodity thanks to services like Amazon’s S3 and Omnidrive has enabled startups to innovate without having to provide for their heavy data storage needs themselves – so too do service providers like Limelight take a big burden off of online media companies and make further innovation possible.
This newest funding announcement will help make a key friend of innovation even stronger in a potentially contentious time ahead.