Snagfilms, a New York City-based video streaming company that both distributes content (like Netflix) and sells a B2b-style platform for media companies, has raised $8 million in funding.
Snagfilms was co-founded by D.C. sports mogul Ted Leonsis and longtime media executive Rick Allen, formerly the president and CEO of Sporting News. The funding comes from a group of largely D.C. area-based investors. Interestingly, the company received early backing from Steve Case, Jean Case and local venture capital firms NEA, Clark Ventures and Revolution.
Allen explained that he met the majority of his investors through personal contacts and via Ted Leonsis’ network with local VC firms.
The funding will be used to hire a top class sales team and for tech development efforts. In addition, Steve Brown, formerly and SVP for advertising and sales software maker NeuLion, will be coming on board. Brown will be putting together a fresh team of professionals in New York to further market the company’s B2b product.
Allen, who is close with a number of industry leading media organizations and content platform developers, said that the media-tech business is “all about relationships.”
As a result of the $8 million round, Robert and Walter McCormack-led Weekapaug Partners and Robert Hisaoka will also be joining Snagfilm’s list of investors.
Over the last several years, 60-person Snagfilms has transformed as a business through a high-profile acquisition and expansion into the B2b video platform market. In 2008, Snagfilms acquired IndieWire, a publication that writes about entertainment news and the indie filmmaking industry. IndieWire was sold to Penske Media Corp earlier this year for an undisclosed fee.
Snagfilms’ enterprise-centric product, called ViewLift, offers a platform for companies to easily adjust and post video content to next-generation streaming platforms like Xbox, Sony Playstation, Roku and Apple TV, among others. The company will help their clients form distribution partnerships with these platform developers and also offers a product that meshes upload tools and data analytics.
ViewLift was originally launched as an auxiliary service of sorts in 2015; adapting lessons learned from establishing Snagfilms as a indie video library and then turning them into scalable technology.
“A high profile media executive was telling me that he employs 400 software engineers and yet their content is only shown on 4 platforms … that’s, for me, when I knew we really had something here,” said CEO Rick Allen during a phone interview.
In a world where traditional media outlets are having to pursue quickly moving audiences—that seem to prefer social media-esque apps like Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube—it has become critical to offer shows/programs on the next, best, hot (whatever word you want to use) device. And that’s where ViewLift comes into play.
In house, ViewLift calls itself an OTT content distribution and monetization platform. OTT stands for over-the-top content (OTT), which refers to the delivery of audio, video and other media over the Internet.
Allen said that beyond traditional media companies—those customers include Monumental Sports Network, Lax Sports Network and Major League Lacrosse—ViewLift is used by India-based news publisher Punjab Kesari and education technology company Great Courses.
Outside of NYC, Snagfilms has a small office locally in the D.C area. Allen declined to disclosed revenue figures for the company.