How LiveU defined the industry it once destroyed

In this weekly CNBC series, we look at the companies that made the first Disruptor 50 list 10 years later.

In 2006, after attending a football game with a bulky, unimpressive production rig, LiveU founders Avi Cohen, Samuel Wasserman, and Roni Ohayon were inspired to create a product that would combine footage for video production, making live video streaming a smoother and easier process.

In its first year of existence, the Israeli startup’s demonstration hardware, which was half the size of a laptop and was said to deliver speeds of up to 2MB per second reliably and cheaply, impressed investors.

So is their mission to use existing cellular, Wi-Fi and WiMAX signals to deliver live video and provide a more reliable and affordable alternative to TV news satellite trucks.

LiveU was launched at a critical time, as both traditional broadcasters and online retailers have fueled the rapidly growing demand for live video streaming over cellular. Not only did TV broadcasters have to meet higher standards for both quality and processing time, but massive streaming services such as YouTube and (now Twitch) were gaining popularity and creating demand for online video and live streaming. This pledge resulted in total AC series funding of $23 million.

And LiveU was ready to meet this demand. By 2012, with advancing technology, the company became popular with many companies that wanted to broadcast HD video in the field, including the BBC and NBC. 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 away from its hardware roots, specifically its 3G/4G LTE backpack, which connected to a video camera to allow the manufacturer to stream high-quality, real-time video streams. solution based company.

One such solution was LiveU Solo, which allowed users to live stream from professional cameras directly to platforms such as YouTube Live and Facebook.

But ultimately, LiveU broke the news broadcast.

Certainly enhancing the offline streaming of events such as the football games that first inspired the company, LiveU’s technology has helped bring “news gathering to the Internet age,” Ronen Artman, LiveU’s vice president of marketing, described in the report. company blog post.

LiveU technology allowed journalists and broadcasters to be in close proximity to what was happening and broadcast it instantly.

ABC News President James Goldston memo for employees in 2014 directly accredited its evolution to news broadcasters on LiveU: “From the streets of Ferguson to the Pope’s daily Mass, everyone at ABC News now has the ability, using the LiveU app on their mobile devices, to live stream what’s happening on our digital platforms, broadcast platforms, and Apple TV anytime, anywhere.”

LiveU found a promising niche in political news as networks increasingly relied on LiveU technology to broadcast elections around the world, including the 2016 and 2020 US elections.

This growth attracted the attention of a private equity firm. In 2019, Francisco Partners, a technology-focused global private equity firm, along 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.

Nearly doubling its value in less than two years indicates not only the increased complexity of its solutions, but also the surge in demand for live video content that has continued to grow along with the Internet.

This demand then skyrocketed due to the Covid-19 pandemic as important events such as weddings, graduations and sporting events had to be attended virtually. And these were especially large, high-traffic events that required new streaming complexity.

Because of this, the evolution of LiveU’s new products has been to change sports in the same way that it has happened in the broadcast news industry.

During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which did not have the opportunity to attend live, LiveU allowed a very intimate broadcast, covering not only the main events, “but also allowing viewers to experience many other moments – the reactions of the athletes after the finish line, the fans, stadium watchers, feedback from coaches in the dressing rooms and award ceremonies”, according to CEO Samuel Wasserman.

“With the growing demand for live content, our solutions are helping to bridge the gap between athletes and spectators around the world, delivering a complete sports experience,” he continued.

LiveU’s customers now include global broadcasters and news agencies, as well as NASA, american airlines as well as Amazonand its products are used to cover some of the most watched live events such as the US presidential election, the World Cup, the Winter and Summer Olympics and the Super Bowl.

Earlier this year, LiveU set its sights on the cloud with the launch of a live video metadata automatic recording and labeling solution, continuing LiveU’s evolution from a hardware alternative to satellite trucks to an end-to-end video streaming, production, and distribution solution.

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