Telstra buys video distribution platform Ooyala

Steven Loeb · August 12, 2014 · Short URL:

Ooyala will remain as an independent company, with the current management team in place

(Correction: Google Ventures was inaccurately listed an investor in Ooyala)

Online video is a giant space, with a lot of money flowing through it. Online ad sales hit a total $42.8 billion last year. But there are some fundamental things that content owners must to do tap into that, namely getting the right content in front of the right people at the time right time. 

Ooyala, a provider of video streaming services, as well as analytics, helps them do just that. And now it has agreed to be purchased by telecommunications company Telstra, it was announced on Monday.

Telstra was a previous investor in Ooyala, leading a $35 million round in 2012, before investing another $43 million, on its own with no co-investors, in December of last year. That had given Telstra a 23% stake in the company. After this deal goes through, which it is expected to do in the next two months, it will own 98%.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but it was revealed that Ooyala will continue to operate as an independent business, but as a subsidiary of Telstra.  The company’s current management team, including chief executive officer Jay Fulcher, will continue to work out of the company's current Silicon Valley office.

Founded in 2007  by Sean Knapp, Belsasar Lepe and Bismarck Lepe, all former Google employees, Ooyala is an online video management company. Its clients are given tools to aid them with publishing video, as well as analytics and monetization. They can calculate ROI, identify high-CPM audience segment, and deliver video to any device.

For example, if a person goes to ESPN's website from their iPad to watch clips from a recent basketball game, the content discovery tool would then monitor the viewer's habits based on that given device and might suggest follow-up content of a similar length that others watching that show enjoyed. 

As part of Telstra, Ooyala will have a chance to expand both faster, and further, than it would have on its own.

The deal will "catapult Ooyala from innovative online video start-up to market-leading cloud TV juggernaut," Fulcher said in an open letter to Ooyala employees on Monday. "With the backing of Telstra, we will double down on key investments by accelerating our hiring, deploying innovations faster, and teaming with new global partners who will help us drive the adoption of the world’s cloud-based TV and video services on Ooyala technology."

Companies using Ooyala technology include Univision, Foxtel, Comedy Central, NBC Universal, ESPN, Telegraph Media Group, Telefonica, The North Face, Rolling Stone, Dell, Sephora and Yahoo! Japan. 

The company had raised a total of $122 million, from investors that included Rembrandt Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, Telstra Ventures, CID Group, ITOCHU Corporation and Ron Conway.

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Ooyala is a video technology company that provides an integrated platform enabling the delivery, management, and monetization of high quality video content. Focused on innovation and scalability, Ooyala is committed to providing the most comprehensive video solutions to companies worldwide.Ooyala is headquartered in Mountain View, Ca with sales operations in New York, NY and London, UK. 

"Ooyala" means cradle in Telugu, a Southern Indian language. We like the name because it demonstrates what we are doing -- cradling a new form of innovation.

Ooyala was founded in early 2007 by Sean Knapp, Belsasar Lepe and Bismarck Lepe - all former Google employees. While at Google, they worked on the development and launch of various monetization and content distribution products such as AdSense, AdWords and Google Web Search. After four years of engineering and product development at the biggest Internet company in the world, the three left Google to start Ooyala. Ooyala has raised over 10 million dollars in funding and has in excess of 5000 publishers using its syndication platform - Backlot. Ooyala's goal is to build a successful technology company that focuses on delivering the best video experience to video content providers, advertisers and most importantly consumers.