Blue Jeans Network, a company that provides cloud-based video conferencing services, has raised $76.5 million in its fifth round of financing.
NEA led the Series E round, joined by Accel Partners, Battery Ventures, Glynn Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, and Quadrille Capital. Jeter Ventures, a new fund launched by MLB all-star Derek Jeter, also participated.
When Blue Jeans launched in 2011, the entire video conferencing market was sized at 200 million minutes per year, according to co-founder and CEO Krish Ramakrishnan, because companies relied primarily on audio-only conference calls.
Today, Blue Jeans alone facilitates over one billion minutes of video conferences each year for over 25 million users across 5,000 companies.
For work-related conference calls, Blue Jeans provides a single platform for audio, video, and document sharing, and it’s compatible with nearly every major hardware and software platform. So you can choose to dial in to that all-hands meeting from anywhere, whether you’re on the go with your iPhone, at home on your laptop, or using the existing hardware system in the conference room.
If you’re not that excited about video conferencing, take a minute to consider how this tech could be useful outside of an office setting. Primetime, a service that Blue Jeans rolled out earlier this year, represents the company’s first attempt to extend real-time video conferencing capabilities beyond the enterprise.
With Primetime, any live-streamed event or broadcast can become interactive. By making it possible to quickly switch from one-way streaming mode to two-way interactive mode, hosts can engage with remote viewers as if they were at the event, whether that’s a college lecture, a celebrity talk show, or a tech conference.
This is where Derek Jeter fits in. Earlier this year, Jeter launched The Player’s Tribune, a media outlet that lets athletes tell their own stories. Using Primetime, the site will be able to provide viewers the opportunity to interact face-to-face with celebrities or athletes during interviews that were previously broadcasted to a passive audience.
Other early Primetime partners include the Sundance Film Festival, TED, and the Wharton School of Business.
“Think about companies like Uber, they started out as a taxi replacement service, and today they’re more like a transportation replacement,” Ramakrishnan says. “When we started out, we were solving a very big problem in the video conferencing market, and now we’re changing the way that people perceive video and communication.”