Your startup’s whole premise hangs in the balance, awaiting a court decision. Everything you’ve worked for may soon go into the gutter. What’s your next move?
Well, if you’re TV-streaming startup Aereo, evidently you raise $34 million.
Investors don’t seem to be that concerned about Aereo‘s future. The company creates a little device that grabs the signals from free, over-the-air broadcasts such as NBC, ABC, and Fox, and then makes them available on desktop computers. It does this with a small antenna that can pick up on the TV signals, which anyone could technically do.
But the networks are not happy about this.
Fox, ABC, and CBS have filed lawsuits against Aereo, saying that the company should have to purchase a licensing fee in order to use their content. They have also thrown around copyright infringement in these suits. But thus far, the efforts are in vain as court after court sides with Aereo.
In December, the company welcomed an appeal by the broadcasters to the United States Supreme Court.
“While the law is clear and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and two different federal courts have ruled in favor of Aereo, broadcasters appear determined to keep litigating the same issues against Aereo in every jurisdiction that we enter. We want this resolved on the merits rather than through a wasteful war of attrition.”
Aereo’s third round of funding comes from IAC, Himalaya Capital Management, and media investor Gordon Crawford. Highland Capital Partners, FirstMark Capital, and others participated in the round. Chief executive Chet Kanojia said in a statement that he expects the company to have a “blockbuster year” in 2014 and will use the money to grow the business.