Aggregator TV attracts £9m funding from 3i syndicate
3i, Amadeus Capital Partners and Intel Capital are co-leading a £9 million Series A financing round for London-based digital TV operator Aggregator Limited. The funding will be used to roll out a series of products over the next two years.
Aggregator, founded in 2005, with seed investment from Amadeus Capital Partners, has since its inception developed some innovative TV propositions and secured a substantial content portfolio. The company now plans to launch a range of TV-over-broadband (TVoBB) services to the PC, which will target specific, underserved audiences in Autumn 2006. Aggregator will deploy an extended service planned for launch in early 2007, when it will integrate its programming with Freeview, the UK's fastest growing TV platform, and make its services available on TV.
Aggregator's TVoBB services will create a new UK pay-TV platform, serving multiple devices including PCs and hybrid set-top boxes. Aggregator's on-demand broadband services allow the delivery of niche content to ethnic and special interest communities that are currently underserved by the television market and are willing to pay for specialist TV services.
"In a rapidly changing media world, Aggregator has designed a smart, TV-over-broadband platform that drives new routes to the consumer and opens up new revenue streams for content owners," said Aggregator's co-founder and Director of Programming Chris Griffin. "Our service ensures a high quality viewing experience that is targeted at specific communities and available to anyone with a broadband connection. When combined with Freeview, we can offer a compelling range of TV services that will be a highly attractive alternative for UK audiences."
"We're delighted to have brought together a very strong funding consortium comprising leading venture capitalists 3i, Amadeus Capital Partners and Intel Capital," said Aggregator's co-founder and CEO Martin Goswami. "Their support validates our vision of what future content services will look like and makes it possible for us to launch and rapidly grow a truly unique television service."
Krishna Visvanathan, 3i director and board member of Aggregator added: "We, at 3i, are excited to lend our full support to Aggregator's exceptional management team. With Web TV and IPTV gaining broad consumer acceptance across the world and on the back of increased broadband penetration, the timing is right for Aggregator's proposition. Aggregator fits well with 3i's strategy of backing talented individuals with disruptive business models in the digital convergence arena."
Amadeus Partner, Simon Cornwell, said: "'We believe that broadband delivery will transform the television landscape in the next five years, creating a fast growing opportunity for new companies with a disruptive approach to the market. Since we backed Chris and Martin a year ago, they have made excellent progress in securing an excellent roster of quality content and built the core of a strong, highly differentiated consumer proposition. We are delighted to be co-leading with Intel and 3i, a substantial Series A funding round that will enable the company to begin its commercial rollout this year, and enable Aggregator to take its place at the forefront of the IPTV revolution."
"Helping to propagate rich media over the Internet and IP networks is a critical element for driving Intel's vision of the Digital Home," said Alain-Gabriel Courtines, Investment Director, Intel Capital. "The Aggregator service is facilitating this vision of convergence between the Internet and traditional broadcast TV by offering a hybrid model between the TV and PC with niche content that is not available over traditional free-to-air and pay TV platforms."
Legal advisers on the financing were: Osborne Clarke (Justine Jones) for the investors and Taylor Wessing (Michelle Rodrigues) for the company.
Notes to editors
Aggregator sources, packages and delivers television programming over broadband platforms internationally, delivering enhanced TV services to targeted audiences/communities via a range of digital devices.
Aggregator is building discrete, individually branded niche TV communities via the PC, which will be aggregated under a consolidated brand when its Freeview/TV over broadband (TVoBB) set-top box is launched in the UK in early 2007.
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3i's Venture Capital business focuses on investing in scaleable start-up and early-stage businesses. The business currently manages over 200 investments across Europe, US, Asia and Israel, valued in excess of €1bn. 3i's VC investments fall into four main industry sectors, including healthcare, telecommunications, software and electronics/semiconductors.
3i's recent investments include TransMedics (organ transplant system), Sulake (gaming community), The Cloud (wifi), TransTech (airfield monitoring) and DiBcom (mobile TV) with successful realisations for Interhyp, KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, Arakis, dtms, RedDot, UbiNetics, CSR, Element5, Bookham and many others.
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