June 28, 2012
Blue Jeans Network Gets $25 Million In Series C Funding At One-Year Mark
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
While kids today send text messages, tweet or post on Facebook, for business it's still about conference calls. That need fueled a good year for Blue Jeans Network, a one-year-old video conferencing company, which led to a $25 million round of funding for the company.Blue Jeans Network, which operates a video conferencing service through a WebRTC-based browser access option, says it has connected over 250,000 call participants in over 3,000 cities worldwide. In the process, thousands of video meetings have taken place over the Blue Jeans Network system.
The next hurdle for Blue Jeans Network is to improve its interoperability, ease-of-use, and affordability.
"Our customers have embraced the powerful premise of interoperability which the Blue Jeans Network is built upon," said Krish Ramakrishan, CEO of Blue Jeans Network, in a company statement.
"Customer adoption and feedback offer strong validation that we succeed in our goal to make video meetings easy, open, and affordable as audio. We've received lots of accolades and attention for this, but watching our growing customer base span businesses of all sizes, shapes, geographies and verticals, has been the most exciting acknowledgement."
Customers of the Blue Jeans network include Facebook, Gawker Media, Match.com, NYSARC, Orchard Brands, Stanford University and the Sierra Club.
"Blue Jeans has removed the frustrating barriers that have previously kept Gawker Media from significant adoption of video conferencing," said Doug Faneuil, chief of staff, technology and products at Gawker Media, in a statement provided by Blue Jeans Network. "We'd been experiencing one headache after the next until we found Blue Jeans. Their solution made it surprisingly easy to bring our employees, partners, and consumers together over video. We click a link and it just works."
In just a year of operations, Blue Jeans Network has received its third round of funding. The Series C investment of $25 million is led by New Enterprise Associates, with additional contributions from Accel Partners and Northwest Venture Partners. The three investors all contributed to Blue Jeans' prior rounds amounting to $23.5 million. The total investment for Blue Jeans Network to date has totaled $48.5 million.
Blue Jeans Network plans to use the new investment funds to expand sales, marketing and operations to grow the business. Plans are in the works to further develop the company's technology and build a next-generation service that will "drive the adoption of video conferencing into the mainstream," the company statement said.
The company is already announcing an innovation in advance of its putting the funding to work. Blue Jeans Network said it is adding web browser access. "With this functionality, Blue Jeans is extending video conferencing to the Web by bringing the browser directly into the video conferencing landscape," the company statement says. The new feature is currently available in beta. Under the new feature, call participants can connect to a meeting powered by Blue Jeans using Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari, and a camera.
A browser-based video conference lifts the bar previous offerings that require additional software to be installed. When software is required, it serves as a hurdle for participants who are restricted from adding software to work computers, or simply don't bother to install the software prior to a meeting.
Blue Jeans Network competes with other online video conferencing and chat services such as Skype, Google, Microsoft Lync, and products from Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize, and Sony. Blue Jeans Network says it's the first to enable video conferencing with just a browser and a web camera, which will make it easier for clients to initiate video conference calls.
"Blue Jeans' new browser access option is exactly what we've been waiting for!" exclaims Ryan Goodenough, director of communications at the non-profit organization NYSARC, in a statement provided by Blue Jeans Network. "It makes joining a video meeting painless for participants and requires less support from IT to make it work."