Internet TV software startup Boxee -- which is hoping to score partnerships with cable and media companies -- closed $6 million in financing led by venture-capital firm General Catalyst, with participation by prior investors Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures.
The funding brings New York-based Boxee to $10 million raised to date. With the investment, General Catalyst managing director Neil Sequeira will join the startup's board. Sequeira previously was managing director of technology for Time Warner Inc.'s investment arm.
"General Catalyst brings more than just money to the table. We wanted a partner to help us as we strengthen our relationships with big media and cable companies," Boxee CEO Avner Ronen wrote in a blog post announcing the funding Wednesday.
Boxee's software, designed to run on a computer connected to a TV, presents a browser interface to Web-delivered video. The Boxee app can access MLB.TV, Netflix's streaming-video feature, Pandora, Last.fm, Yahoo's Flickr and other services.
However, Boxee's attempt to tap into Hulu, the joint venture owned by NBC Universal, News Corp. and Disney, has been thwarted. Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has said the reason the site cuts off access to services like Boxee is because cable programmers want to "keep their shows from living-room environments that promote themselves as substitutes to their analog cable TV business."
Ronen, in blog post, said the funding will be used for product development, with a beta release due later this fall; adding more content from independent content producers and big media companies; attracting more developers; and bringing Boxee into devices.
"Boxee today is mostly serving a tech-savvy audience - those who feel comfortable connecting a computer to a TV," Ronen wrote. "To make Boxee more accessible for a mainstream consumer it's important for us to get Boxee embedded into connected TVs and Blu-ray players, game consoles and set-top boxes."
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