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When I caught up with Sling Media founder and CEO Blake Krikorian earlier this year, he told me that running a startup is "not a sprint, it's a marathon." This week, he decided to end his race -- or at least get some help finishing.
By selling Sling to existing partner and investor EchoStar in a deal that values his firm at $380 million, Krikorian produced a successful exit for investors like Liberty Media, DCM and Goldman, Sachs & Co., from whom Sling had raised around $60 million.
From the very beginning, Krikorian has known that selling hardware and getting premium placement on retail store shelves to do so would be a tough business.
While Sling has done a good job getting to market fast, the challenge of selling a place-shifting set-top box remains a large one. Such a feature may quickly become a commodity, much like Tivo's value proposition of offering time-shifting has become as cable operators build such features into their own services.
Sling Media would have had the challenge of constantly staying one step ahead of the cable and satellite companies, like EchoStar, which have much deeper pockets. Now Krikorian will have access to them.
As for EchoStar, the Sling Media addition could help the satellite company get its pay-per-view programming to more viewers by allowing subscribers to remotely access it.
To see and hear more of Blake's thoughts on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, click on the video above.
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