As more companies bet on livestreaming apps to attract new audiences, a startup that makes it easier for users and creators to livestream has turned some heads. Chicago-based Lightstream, which offers web-based tools to enhance livestreams and air them on several popular platforms, today raised $8 million in a series A round.
The funding was led by Drive Capital, with participation from MK Capital, Pritzker Group, and Silicon Valley Bank. The startup has raised $9.8 million, to date, and told VentureBeat it will use the fresh capital to invest in adding more features to its cloud-based Studio, one of its two marquee consumer-facing products.
Studio enables users to stream to several popular platforms (Microsoft’s Mixer, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook) without downloading any software or installing a dedicated capture card on the desktop computer. Last year, the company entered into a partnership with Microsoft, which integrated the Lightstream feature into its native broadcast experience for Xbox and Windows.
Lightstream cofounder and CEO Stu Grubbs told VentureBeat that the company is now building tools that will allow Studio users and creators to better understand their viewers and monetize their content. The startup, which currently has servers in North America and Europe, said it plans to expand its business to Southeast Asia and South America this year. It also intends to offer new tools for developers and brands, and to grow its headcount.
Lightstream Studio has gained popularity in part because it does much of the video processing in the cloud, freeing users from the burden of owning high-end devices. Additionally, it allows a user to easily invite a guest onto their livestream with a single click. Prism, the startup’s other product, lets up to four people stitch their different streams together on one screen. Both tools also enable users to add overlays on their live videos.
Lightstream’s products compete with OBS, a free and open source tool; Wirecast; Xsplit; and Gameshow.
The five-year-old startup did not share how many users it has, but said the number of content creators who use its products has nearly quadrupled in the past year. The level of engagement is up, too. Creators streamed 8.5 times more hours in just one month of 2018 than in the entirety of 2017, Lightstream said.