Deals

TokBox raises $12M to jam Skype into your web browser

TokBox, a provider of streaming video conferencing over the web, announced today that it has raised $12 million in a third round of funding and is launching a new set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to embed video conferencing in any web site.

The new APIs kill the need to launch a standalone application like Skype or a web application to host a video conference. Any developer can now embed up to 20 participants in a video conference directly into a web page. They can have many more people watching the conversations as well. TokBox is launching the new APIs at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco tomorrow.

Using TokBox for something like a speed dating website seems like an obvious application, but there’s another potential giant target — enterprise teleconferencing. Collaboration technology is already incredibly fragmented and in dire need of consolidation. Releasing a teleconferencing API that can be dropped into a site like Yammer — a Facebook for businesses — could prove to be a huge boon for businesses that have employees strewn across the country.

“People are always invited to go to silo destination sites for video conferencing, and that’s just not the real world,” said Micky O’Brien, vice president of marketing for TokBox. “They want to engage with others around an activity, and they want to do it immediately.”

Once video is captured from a web-enabled camera, it’s sent over to the TokBox servers and compressed. It’s then streamed to people viewing a website with Flash. While the streaming technology is handled by Flash for now, the APIs are already prepared in a way that TokBox can shift over to HTML5 once the technology is ready, O’Brien said.

To change major settings of a video conference in a website, a TokBox user will have to go back to the source code of the web page. So they can’t make any significant changes on the fly. But the APIs will allow TokBox users to do things like move around and scale video conferencing windows. TokBox users can also choose to chat with only a select group of people, like Facebook friends. Their conference can’t be viewed by anyone else, so if users need to have a private conversation they can do so.

With this third round of funding, led by DAG Ventures, TokBox has raised a total of $26.4 million. Existing investors Bain Capital and Sequoia Capital also participated in the most recent fundraising round. TokBox is based in San Francisco, Calif. and was founded in 2007.