Streaming video site Ustream has just pulled in a massive new round of funding: $75 million. This second round was led by SoftBank, a Japanese telecom giant. Previously, the site had raised just below $13 million in funding, which came from its Series A in 2008 and its angel round in late 2007.
Update: While Ustream noted the $75 million number, SoftBank has clarified that they’re investing $20 million now for a 13.7% stake in the company with an option to invest up to $55 million more by 2011 — which would make them Ustream’s largest shareholder with over 30% of the outstanding shares.
Perhaps even crazier is that the service is saying that additional funding commitments are pending from other investors in the U.S. and Asia, so the round could actually be larger than the $75 million when all is said and done. We’re hearing reports that there was quite a bit of competition to be involved in the round, and apparently all the dust hasn’t settled yet.
So why on Earth does Ustream need $75 million+? CEO John Ham says in the release that the money will be used to expand on the other side of the world, particularly Japan (obvious, given the SoftBank involvement), China, Korea, and India. Mobile video is particularly hot in some of the Asian countries where their faster wireless networks allow for more functionality than the comparatively slow ones in the U.S. Ustream will open offices and hire staff in all those countries, apparently.
Alongside this new round, we’re also hearing that the founders of the company, Ham, Brad Hunstable, and Gyula Feher were able to sell some shares as a reward.
Just a few days ago, Ustream launched a new desktop client to help video producers give their work a more professional feel. Prior to that, in December, Ustream made headlines by being the first big video streaming site to offer that (recording) functionality on the iPhone.
Ustream says that its iPhone apps has been downloaded over 1.5 million times to date (it has had other apps before the live streaming one was available too) and notes that 3.8 million people tuned into the service to watch the inauguration of President Obama in January of last year.
Update: SoftBank’s investment appears to put Ustream’s value right now around $150 million. However, if they exercise their options, their full investment in Ustream would push its value to around $230 million.