Aiming For Global Expansion, Elemental Technologies Raises $13M In Round Led By Norwest

Elemental Technologies, which builds encoding software used by some of the largest video providers in the world, raised $13 million in a Series C round of funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, which also includes existing investors General Catalyst, Voyager Capital, and Steamboat Ventures. The Portland, Ore.-based startup has now raised a total of roughly $30 million. Along with the funding, Elemental has also named Kevin O’Hara as its Chairman of the Board, replacing founder Sam Blackman, who will remain CEO.

The funding will be used primarily to promote global expansion, as the encoding vendor extends beyond its home market in the U.S. and attempts to tap into worldwide adoption of online video. Elemental opened a London office last summer to support its growing business in Western Europe, which now accounts for about 20 percent of all sales. It also opened an office in Hong Kong to tackle the Asia-Pacific market. Altogether, Elemental now has 70 employees worldwide.

More investment overseas will mean growing those markets, but also opening new offices in places where Elemental doesn’t yet have a presence. That includes regions like Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

That international support will also be necessary as Elemental prepares to support multiple international distributors for their coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, which are about two-and-a-half months away. The London Games will be Elemental’s largest live deployment to date, as its encoding hardware and software will be used by six major broadcasters distributing to 40 countries worldwide.

The opportunity is bigger than just supporting Olympics streams — in a phone conversation, Blackman pointed to the multibillion dollar market for traditional video delivery equipment, which will soon be replaced as distribution moves to the Internet and mobile networks. Elemental gear is already used by some of the biggest names in video, including Comcast, HBO and ESPN in the states, as well as Terra, the largest video provider in Latin America.

With that in mind, Kevin O’Hara, who has sat on the Elemental board for the last 18 months or so, will be taking over the Chairman role. O’Hara was one of the earliest employees at Metropolitan Fiber Systems (MFS) which sold to Worldcom in 1996, as well as a co-founder and president at Level 3 Communications. At Elemental he’ll help support the startup’s massive expansion overseas.