GridNetworks, a Seattle-based company that delivers TV-video content over broadband, has raised $9.5 million in a first round of funding. Panorama Capital led the deal, and was joined by two strategic investors that weren’t named.

We wrote about the company a year ago. It faces tough competition, but has its own technology that it says delivers high-quality video more effectively than other companies. It is a hybrid of peer-to-peer and content delivery technology, and says its advantage is using the efficient peer-to-peer technology but then managing its network centrally so that it video is streamed as efficiently as possible.

The company faces competition from companies like Joost, BitTorrent, both of which have raised significant amounts of money for their peer-to-peer technologies. On the CDN side, it competes against large public companies like Akamai and Limelight Networks.


From the release:


GridNetworks, a leading innovator of technology and services that power Internet Television, today announced $9.5 million Series A financing led by Panorama Capital and two strategic investors to be disclosed in the future. The financing will be used to expand development of GridNetworks’ core technology and grow the company’s Internet Television distribution businesses.


GridNetworks’ managed service offering, called GridCasting, streams television and film content with HD clarity and high-fidelity sound to a computer or a living room television screen via the Internet. The company is currently executing a strategy that provides GridCasting service directly to media and entertainment companies, embeds its client software into network and consumer devices, and integrates its technology into carrier and cable operators’ networks.


GridNetworks’ model is based on a hybrid set of technologies that include the GridCast Connector, a unique type of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) client, and Grid Network Control, a network-hosted system that orchestrates real-time service management and network-friendly video streams. Grid Network Control and GridCast Connectors work in tandem to ensure that millions of viewers can simultaneously watch television programming from Internet broadband connections without re-buffering or interruptions.


According to Tony Naughtin, president and CEO of GridNetworks, the investment round is a strong vote of confidence in GridNetworks’ technology offerings, as well as the company’s highly experienced team. Naughtin said, “Mainstream television is moving to the Internet, and GridCasting is a great solution to support this. We provide a real television experience for the consumer, allow low-cost distribution, and produce a content delivery service that is very sympathetic to the ISP network. As longtime network operators ourselves, we understand the concerns of cable operators and carriers about typical P2P approaches. But GridCasting is truly something different and superior.”

Naughtin and several other GridNetworks executives were co-founders of Internap Network Services (NASDAQ:INAP), and built that company into a leading high-performance network provider. GridNetworks co-founder and CTO Jeff Payne is also a veteran of successful network and content distribution companies. He architected and operated the original Real Broadcast Network (“RBN”) for RealNetworks, Inc. (NASDAQ:RNWK), the Internet’s first content distribution network, and went on to become a co-founder of Bivio Networks, a leading manufacturer of high-performance, wire-speed network appliances.


Allan Leinwand, Venture Partner at Panorama Capital said, “GridNetworks is poised for strong growth in the burgeoning Internet Television marketplace.

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