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Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists continue to pump money into new video companies, even though there are hundreds, if not thousands, of video sites already out there.
The latest include National Banana, a site that produces serial comedy videos, and RockinCat, music videos from the Sunset Strip.
National Banana’s videos are produced by Hollywood’s Jerry Zucker, known for satirical movies “Airplane” and “Naked Gun.” Like Revision3, another video company, National Banana is bringing its comedy in episodes.
You might call it a poor man’s version of that other comedy video company, Funny or Die, featuring Will Ferrell, and which had a hit debut. Funny or Die received an undisclosed amount of backing from Sequoia Capital, an big-swinging venture capital firm (the same firm backed Google, Yahoo among others). So now, other venture firms want to follow. National Banana has received more than $1 million from venture firm US Venture Partners.
We tried reaching Steve Krausz, the USVP partner who sites on the company’s board. But he was taking a well deserved break — the man sits on somewhere between 13 and 23 board seats. He won’t be back until next week.
It’s hard to see how such efforts will become major companies, given that so many other video sites already exist. National Banana features the usual adolescent fare that is bound to appeal to the masses — such as this video about a hidden breast cam or a spoof of Girls Gone Wild (click on image at left).
It is run by Anthony Bettencourt, an “Entrepreneur in Residence” at USVP. He declined to provide more specifics on the site. USVP is also an investor in PodTech, a San Mateo company that makes business related videos. Podtech announced that National Banana is using Podtech’s player for displaying content on the National Banana site.
RockinCat, meanwhile, will be announced next week. It has received an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Silicon Valley individuals to produce a music network. It will be launched by Slim Jim Phantom, drummer for The Stray Cats, and owner of the Cat Club, on the Sunset Strip. It will produce the videos from a studio on the Strip.
RockinCat will also use the Podtech video player on its site. Podtech will furnish ads from its network of 43 advertisers to both National Banana and RockinCat, in return for a share of the revenue. Podtech will also put their content on sites such as YouTube. So Podtech seems poised to profit from this proliferation of video sites — and looks to expand from business video creation to more general video distribution with help from its advertising network.
Podtech has 38 employees and another 15 consultants chief executive John Furrier.
He said Podtech is on track to be cash-flow positive by the end of the year. Podtech plans to raise a second round of capital in the fall, he said.
Video, of course, is hot worldwide. Brad Greenspan, the former chief executive of Intermix, the company that spawned MySpace.com, launched BroadWebAsia, and wants to use it to investment in a Chinese video platform. The company has invested in two Chinese video sites, Mofile.com and Hubotv.com, which reportedly together reach more than 48 million unique visitors per month. He wants to reach more than 100 million generating 1.5 billion page views within two years.
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