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Skyfire gets $8M to stream mobile videos without any wait

Mobile browsing and video optimization company Skyfire announced today it has raised $8 million in its third round of funding.  The round was facilitated by Verizon Investments, Matrix Partners, Trinity Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Skyfire gained popularity as an alternative to the stock browsers on Android and iOS devices. Since Apple does not provide Flash support for its mobile devices, many people flocked to Skyfire’s browser apps to watch in-browser Flash videos on their iPhones and iPads.

“The game plan from the beginning of the company has been to learn from the consumer market, hone our customer experience and use that as a proving ground for our carrier technology, which we believe will drive our revenue growth,” said Skyfire CEO Jeff Glueck in an interview with VentureBeat.

Beyond delivering Flash content to phones, Skyfire’s recently launched Rocket Optimizer tool makes videos faster on mobile devices and less data-hogging. Rocket Optimizer uses cloud technology to optimize video content from nearly any source to prevent congestion on mobile networks. Skyfire can detect when bandwidth congestion occurs and intervene to keep cell towers from becoming overloaded.

“We can use the network to determine where congestion is and route all the video through our cloud adaptation engine,” said Glueck, “We’re not trying to touch all the video going through a 4G network, we are looking for bottlenecks so we can intervene.”

Another Skyfire product, Rocket Toolbar, is a scrollable toolbar embedded into a phone’s default browser that uses content from webpages to make recommendations and enhance the browsing experience. Cell phone carriers can choose the content that ends up in the toolbar — Facebook, news outlets, mobile shopping sites, carrier-specific content, app recommendations — and the cell phone owner can personalize the content to meet their needs. Rocket Toolbar is available now for carriers to use and will be pre-installed on default browsers for new devices later this year.

“The carrier can customize the default content on the toolbar, but it’s very important for the user to fully customize the toolbar, download any app they want, or even turn it off,” Glueck said.

Skyfire will use the new round of funding to keep up with growing demand from wireless carriers with increased engineering, sales, and support efforts. Skyfire is expanding into Europe with this new funding by opening an office in London and has plans to expand into Asian markets as well.

Skyfire uses cloud technology to enhance mobile web browsing and video streaming. The company is based in Mountain View, CA and has about 50 employees. To date, Skyfire has raised $31M from Matrix Partners, Trinity Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.