Sunday's Globe column: Brightcove and Maven, duking it out
The story of Maven Networks and Brightcove, two companies that have helped shape the way media firms distribute video online, is one of unbridled competitiveness: two entrepreneurs who were once on the same team now duking it out.
Brightcove, by virtue of having raised $82 million in funding, is one of the highest-profile tech start-ups in Boston (Maven has banked $27 million). The big question is which one will wind up with the sweetest finish - either an acquisition by a big player like Microsoft or Google, or a public offering.
I actually had included Adobe in that list, as a potential acquirer, but it got snipped during editing. (Macromedia, now part of Adobe, acquired the first company that Brightcove founder Jeremy Allaire started, Allaire Corp.)
A few other interesting notes on possible exits: when Comcast bought thePlatform last year, they paid between $100 and $125 million, according to several sources. So that's the one valuation we know about in the enterprise video-publishing space. On the consumer side, we know about YouTube ($1.65 billion), and Sony's acquisition of Grouper ($65 million). (We sort of know about Vimeo, a video publishing site started as part of CollegeHumor, which Barry Diller's IAC acquired last year for a reported $20 million.)
YouTube received a grand total of $11.5 million in venture funding before it was acquired by Google. It starts to make it look as though Brightcove's backers ($82 million) may find it tough to make a 3x, 4x, 5x return. But we'll see. One intriguing possibility would be combining the two companies, since Accel Partners and General Catalyst are investors in both. Of course, they'd then confront Sophie's Choice, since I'm sure that Maven CEO Hilmi Ozguc and Allaire would never work together.
John Simon, the General Catalyst partner who sits on the board of Maven (his firm is also an investor in Brightcove), wouldn't talk to me by phone. But he sort of answered a couple questions via e-mail. I asked what he thought the benefit was of being an investor in both companies. He wrote that the "two companies ... show every sign of delighting customers, employees, and stakeholders and being very significant venture capital winners at this point," adding, "[T]hese are two companies we can really be proud of."
Here's this week's video.... an interview with Jeremy Allaire, published using (what else) Brightcove.