Vessel Raises Another $57.5 Million

Vessel, a YouTube competitor that is using a subscription option to provide temporary early access to some of its OTT fare, has raised a $57.5 million “B” round led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), with help from earlier investors Greylock, Benchmark and Bezos Expeditions, Jeff Bezos’s personal investment company.

Vessel, a service co-founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, has raised more than $134 million.

Following a brief invitation-only beta trial, Vessel’s service launched commercially on March 24. It’s offered on Web browsers and iOS devices, with an Android version in the works.

As detailed by Vessel in December, the service's “early access” subscription product provides temporary exclusives to short-form videos for $2.99 per month.  After that limited exclusivity window, typically 72 hours, Vessel’s content partners are free to make their videos available via YouTube, their own Web sites, or any other online distributor.

Vessel, which struck a deal earlier this month to offer clips from The Ellen DeGeneres Show,  also offers a slate of free, ad-supported, non-exclusive videos. Vessel has not announced how many consumers are on its subscription-based offering.  

IVP, a later stage VC and growth equity firm with more than $4 billion in committed capital, has made bets on companies such as Netflix, Shazam, Snapchat, Twitter, LegalZoom and Dropbox.

“We believe Vessel has the potential to be as successful as these companies someday,” IVP general partner Todd Chaffee wrote in this blog post.

“What we are trying to accomplish —creating a video platform that delights consumers and creators alike— is ambitious,” Kilar wrote in this blog post. “Each of these investors brings experience, resources and long-term thinking that will guide us as we continue pursuing our ambitions. Their investment in Vessel will enable us to grow, as a company and a business, equipped with the world-class team and resources we need to make our visions real.”