How LiveU has defined the industry that was once disrupted

In this weekly series, CNBC takes a look at the companies that made the inaugural Disruptor 50 list 10 years later.

In 2006, after attending a soccer game with a heavy, ineffective production setup, LiveU founders Avi Cohen, Samuel Wasserman, and Ronnie O’Hearn were inspired to create a product that would consolidate video production material, Thereby, live video broadcasting will become an easy and simple process.

In its first year, the Israel-based startup’s demo hardware, which was only half the size of a laptop, and claimed to reliably and inexpensively deliver up to 2MB per second, impressed investors.

And so was their mission – to use existing cellular, Wi-Fi and WiMAX signals to broadcast live video and provide a more reliable and economical alternative to television news satellite transmission trucks.

LiveU launched at a critical time, as both traditional broadcasters and online outlets provided a rapidly growing demand for cellular-based live video broadcasting. Not only were television broadcasters being held to high standards of both quality and turnaround time, but mass streaming services such as YouTube and (now Twitch) were gaining mainstream popularity, and increased the demand for online video consumption and livestreaming. was creating demand. That promise led to a combined $23 million in Series AC funding.

And LiveU was ready to meet that demand. By 2012, due to its evolving technology, the company had become well-known for uplinking HD video while on the field, including the BBC and NBC. In the same year, the company raised another $27,000,000 in Series D funding.

This marked a turning point for the company, as it moved on from its roots in hardware, specifically its 3G/4G LTE backpack that was attached to a video camera so that a manufacturer could deliver high-quality data in real-time. Instead of focusing on being able to broadcast quality video streams. A solutions based company.

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One of these solutions was LiveU Solo, which allowed users to livestream directly from professional cameras to platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook.

But ultimately LiveU caused the biggest disruption in news broadcasts.

While certainly improving stand-alone broadcasting events, like the soccer games that inspired the company in the first place, LiveU’s technology brought “news gathering in the Internet age,” Ronen Artman, vice president of marketing at LiveU, described in the company’s blog post. helped to do.

LiveU’s technology allowed journalists and broadcasters to get up close to the action and stream it instantly.

ABC News President James Goldston, in a memo to staff in 2014, directly recognized its development for LiveU for news broadcasters – “from the streets of Ferguson to the Pope’s daily mass, ABC News now has The ability to use the LiveU app to live stream what’s happening on the ground from anywhere at any time on their mobile device, our digital, broadcast and Apple TV platforms.”

LiveU found a promising position within political news, as networks increasingly relied on LiveU technology to broadcast elections globally, including the 2016 and 2020 US elections.

That growth helped propel it into the limelight for private equity firm Francisco Partners In 2019, a global technology-focused private equity firm, together with co-investor IGP Capital, acquired LiveU for $200 million.

Then 25 months later at TK, LiveU was acquired by the Carlyle Group for $400 million.

Its valuation nearly doubling in less than two years points not only to the increased sophistication of its solutions, but also to the growth in demand for live video content that continues to grow alongside the Internet.

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This demand was then dramatically accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as important events such as weddings, graduations and sporting events were forced to attend virtually. And it was especially those big, heavily trafficked, events that needed new streaming sophistication.

Because of this, LiveU’s new product development has focused on disrupting sports, as did the broadcast news industry.

In 2020, during the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were unable to have live audiences, LiveU allowed a deeply intimate streaming experience, covering not only the main events, “but allowing viewers to experience many other moments” – finish after the athletes’ reaction, fans watching outside the stadium, the coaches’ reaction in the locker room and the medal ceremony,” according to CEO Samuel Wasserman.

“With the growing demand for live content, our solutions help create a bridge between athletes and spectators around the world, providing a complete sporting experience,” he continued.

LiveU clients now include global broadcasters and news agencies as well as NASA, American Airlines and Amazon, with its products behind the coverage of some of the most trafficked live broadcast events, such as the US presidential election, the FIFA World Cup, Winter Huh. And the Summer Olympic Games, and the Super Bowl.

Earlier this year, LiveU set its ambitions on the cloud, launching a solution for automated recording of live video and metadata tagging, followed by the development of Satellite Truck from LiveU’s hardware option for end-to-end video contributions. , production and distribution solutions.

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