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Bullish on IPTV Over Cable

The next Big Thing for cable technology? Jeff Binder has put Internet-protocol television products aimed at cable operators on his short list.

Binder founded Broadbus Technologies, the video-on-demand startup Motorola acquired for $181 million in 2006. Now, he's looking to fund other startups as a general partner with venture-capital firm 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 [hybrid fiber coax], or other places," Binder said. "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. He would not say how much money the firm has raised.

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

Besides IPTV for cable, other areas of interest to 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. As with any new technology category, timing is critical, he 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.”