Monday, November 24, 2008

Sezmi Raises $33 Million for its TV 2.0 Service and STB

Sezmi, a start-up based in Belmont, California, secured $33 million in new venture funding for its personal TV system.

Sezmi is developing an alternative to the legacy TV experience with a line-up of content from traditional broadcast networks, cable and specialty networks, Internet video, pay-per-view movies, etc. The company says its goal is not only to enhance the on-demand experience, but to stand out from traditional television offerings with a highly personalized, intuitive user experience at an affordable cost. Sezmi is now in trials and will be commercially available to U.S. consumers through broadband providers and national retailers in 2009.

The new funding includes new investments from Advanced Equities, Inc. and others, and follow-on investments from previous investors: Morgenthaler Ventures, Omni Capital Group, TD Fund, and Legend Ventures.

"The demand from consumers for an affordable and personalized television experience continues to increase," said Phil Wiser, Sezmi's co-founder and president. "In fact, we hear from consumers every day that they are looking for an alternative to meet these needs and that they are eagerly awaiting Sezmi. It is very gratifying that our vision is validated not just by consumers, but also by the investment community."

  • In May 2008, Sezmi unveiled a new TV service that combines terrestrial digital broadcast television with existing broadband services to deliver video content to a customized set-top box. The system utilizes available capacity in existing digital television broadcast networks and creates a private, secure broadcast transmission for content. The Sezmi interface aims to provide a seamless integration of live, stored, on-demand and Internet video from different sources.

    Sezmi has also developed a smart antenna indoor reception system that makes both its private broadcast and existing terrestrial TV broadcasts accessible. The company said its network-attached reception system can be placed in any location in the home.

    Sezmi is seeking partnerships with broadcasters, broadband providers and content companies. It plans to commence technical trials in preparation for commercial launch across several major U.S. markets later this year.

  • In April 2008, Sezmi (formerly known as Building B) announced plans to co-locate its network operations center (NOC) within Harris Corporation's world-class NOC facility in Melbourne, Fla. in order to leverage Harris' expertise in digital asset management, content aggregation and its nationwide distribution network.

  • Sezmi is headed by Dr. Buno Pati (co-founder and CEO), who previously founded Numerical Technologies (acquired by Synopsys). Before co-founding Numerical, Dr. Pati served as assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Harvard University and a post-doctoral research associate at Stanford University.