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Technology VC Sees Bright Future For Cable IPTV

One of the next big areas in the cable-technology sector will be IPTV-related products for cable operators, according to Jeff Binder, a former Motorola executive who is now general partner with Genovation Capital.

“You’re going to see more of the cable infrastructure move to IP, whether that’s in the set-top, the IP cloud merging with HFC, or other places,” Binder said in an interview. “That will continue to evolve and create a myriad of opportunities for vendors.”

Waltham, Mass.-based Genovation has not announced any investments since forming last year. The venture-capital firm is focusing on early-stage startups in three sectors — communications, media and Internet — and Binder said it will probably announce some of the companies in its initial portfolio later in 2009. (Genovation has not disclosed the size of its fund.)

Before joining Genovation, Binder was general manager of Motorola’s On Demand Solutions group. Prior to that he founded video-on-demand vendor Broadbus Technologies, which Motorola acquired in 2006 for $181 million

Genovation’s other general partners are Vin Bisceglia, formerly Broadbus’s CEO, and Dave Fellows, previously Comcast’s chief technology officer.  Ed Zander, formerly Motorola’s CEO and Sun Microsystems’ president, is a strategic limited partner.

Besides IPTV for cable, other major areas of interest for Genovation include collaboration and video-on-demand, as well as “green technologies” for communications industries.

“We’re actually pretty excited. The quality generally of deals and entrepreneurs in the marketplace are the highest I’ve seen in a long time,” Binder said. “We’re actually very encouraged by the state of innovation.”

As with any new technology category, timing is critical, Binder noted: “If you’re too early you die on the vine; if you’re too late you miss the opportunity.” Broadbus, he said, “happened to hit the window right.. had we been two years on either side, I don’t know that we would have been as successful or successful at all.”

In terms of cable technology specifically, he added, “it’s always a challenging market… although the cable ecosystem was and still is quite healthy.”