Beamr Buys Vanguard Video

Beamr, a maker of video streaming optimization technologies, is getting into the encoding game via the acquisition of Vanguard Video, a vendor that counts Netflix, Microsoft and QuickFire Networks among its customers.

Beamr also announced a $15 million “C” round of funding led by Disruptive Growth, and participation from Marker LLC and Innovation Endeavours, an early stage VC that includes Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt as a founding partner.

Beamr has raised about $24.5 million from venture capital investors and a few million more from private investors, according to Beamr chief technology officer Dror Gill. Beamr will use the fresh funds to help finance the acquisition and to help it expand its addressable market, he added. 

With Vanguard, Beamr will add HEVC and H.264 encoding technology to its repertoire as it continues to work with OTT partners, including Crackle and M-GO (now part of NBCU’s Fandango and in the midst of a rebranding as FandangoNow),  and starts to pursue deals with cable operators and other types of MVPDs, Gill said.

Beamr’s technology optimizes already-encoded video in a way that reduces bit rates without reducing the quality of the video based by analyzing the action in individual scenes and utilizing a system that determines the perceptual quality of the video.  Beamr estimates that its techniques can reduce bit rates by an additional 20% to 50% while still adhering to the underlying encoding standards.

Today, Beamr does this offline for on-demand video, but the company is also working on a solution for live video that is expected to be available later this year, Gill said.

So where does Vanguard fit in? The plan is to match its video encoding with Beamr’s underlying video optimization platform.

Gill said Beamr’s customers tend to encode their own video before it handles the optimization, but some of those encoders sometimes produce artifacts that can’t be fixed with its optimization technology.

Integrating those ends will help to strengthen Beamr’s positon in the market,  and give  Beamr a way to further reduce bit rates while still maintaining video quality, Gill said.

That combination will also help Beamr address additional markets, given Vanguard’s work with partners that include Netflix, Microsoft Azure, Imagine Communications, QuickFire Networks, Sony and Arris, among others.

Beamr also believes the acquisition of Vanguard Video will create an independent source of encoding and video optimization technology amid a market that has seen recent mergers between Amazon Web Services and Elemental Technologies and Ericsson and Envivio.

The combined company will have more than 80 employees and offices in Palo Alto, Tel Aviv, and St. Petersburg, Russia.