Layer3 TV Banks $51M ‘B’ Round

Layer3 TV, the self-described “next-gen cable company,” has raised its next round of funding -- a $51 million infusion that comes in as the startup prepares to launch its pay TV service in late summer.

Denver-based Layer3 TV, which announced a $21 million round in March 2014, said it has raised more than $80 million. The startup’s series A lead investors Evolution Media Partners (an investment company whose shareholders include Evolution Media Capital, Creative Artists Agency, TPG Growth and Jeff Skoll/Participant Media) and North Bridge Venture Partners participated in the fresh B round, alongside new investors that were not named.

According to this Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Layer3 TV’s total offering for the new round is $56.6 million, so there appears to be another $5.6 million left to be sold.  

Layer3 TV, founded in 2013 by industry vets Jeff Binder and David Fellows, has not revealed specific plans on how it intends price and package its coming IP-based multiscreen service, and whether it will sell it as a direct-to-consumer offering or if it will team up with cable operators and serve as their cloud-based distribution platform – or perhaps a mix of both.  It also has not announced if its service will be delivered “over-the-top” via the Internet or as a managed IP service piped in via dedicated capacity.

Layer3 TV is expected to support a variety of IP-connected devices, but it has also dropped hints that it will also offer its own consumer gear, including a set-top that would be capable of supporting 4K/Ultra HD.

The company, which opened its Denver headquarters last September, will also be entering the fray as cable operators struggle to add video subs and come up against a new class of “virtual” MVPDs such as Sling TV, Dish Network’s slimmed-down OTT service for cord-cutters, and PlayStation Vue, Sony’s fuller-freight pay TV offering.

What’s clearer is Layer3 TV’s interest in striking distribution deals with programmers. Of recent note, Layer3 TV added programming vets Lynne Costantini (now president of business development at TheBlaze and a former exec of Scripps Networks and Time Warner Cable) and Sean Riley (an exec with multiscreen video tech firm 1 Mainstream who is also late of Fox Networks) to its content advisory board, which is now led by its chief content officer Lindsay Gardner, a programming vet who was formerly with Fox and Cox Communications.

Layer3 TV also operates out of Boston. The size of the company is approaching 100 employees, about double what it was last fall.

The prepared statements tied to this latest round of funding drop a few cryptic hints about what Layer3 TV has in mind.

“Cable television may have dominated the business press this year but consumers continue to crave a simple, yet elegant, solution for managing the newest innovations in video, social and digital,” Binder, Layer3 TV’s CEO, said in a statement. “Layer3 TV is the new cable – putting subscribers at the center of the universe by giving them seamless control of their entertainment relationships.”

“Layer3 TV’s platform is proof that technology and consumer experience can be aligned with programmers’ goals and objectives,” added Rick Hess, the founder and co-managing partner at Evolution Media Partners. “Layer3 TV is rapidly becoming a trusted and valued partner to the content community by enabling consumers to engage with all of the content being distributed through various platforms.”

“From inception, Jeff’s and Dave’s vision of Layer3 TV has been to build the very best cable company and layer in the most cutting edge technology available. Their integration with social media, Internet of Things and diverse universe of content choices will make Layer3 TV the ultimate center of the living room,” said Jamie Goldstein, a partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, also in a statement.