Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

More Money for Web Video? Sure: Clicker Raises Another $11 Million.

How do you launch a Web video start-up without getting crushed by lawsuits and bandwidth bills? Launch a Web video search engine.

That’s the thesis behind Clicker, a would-be TV Guide for Web video, which has raised an $11 million B round led by JAFCO Ventures, with participation from earlier investors Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. The funding follows an $8 million round announced last fall that was actually raised in 2008.

I assumed the money would be targeted to build up a sales and marketing team for the 32-person company, which launched in October but has no revenue to speak of. In fact, CEO Jim Lanzone says the money will go in the start-up’s bank account for now.

“We didn’t need the money yet,” he says. “But we had multiple firms interested, and we had the opportunity to pick the best one for us and get it done. It was kind of a no-brainer.”

Clicker is a clever Web video play because it takes advantage of Web video’s popularity without getting clobbered by the cost and copyright problems that have felled start-ups like Joost and Veoh.

Clicker doesn’t have to pay to produce or stream Web video because it doesn’t make or host its own clips, though it will run embedded clips from other services. And it doesn’t have copyright problems because it only indexes professionally produced stuff. (Here’s Katie Boehret’s review from last November.)

The service doesn’t have significant traffic yet–comScore (SCOR) reports 226,000 unique visitors in January, though Lanzone says his internal numbers show 750,000–but it is getting a warm reception from the traditional TV business, which likes the idea of central hub for “legitimate” content.

And the industry needs one if it’s going to get users to embrace its “TV Everywhere” strategy. Again, viewers shouldn’t care if they’re watching “The Pacific” on Time Warner’s (TWX) HBO Go or via Comcast’s (CMCSA) Fancast–they just want to find the show.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik