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Chatfish Secures $4 Million in First Round Funding

Chatfish (http://www.chatfish.com), a streaming media company in its infancy, is looking to take over the interactive webcasting market by innovating audience participation. The company raised $4 million in its first round of funding and has added key industry leaders to its board of directors.

The essential idea behind Chatfish is that audience participation should not be limited to text. The software, currently in development, will allow participants to engage in webcasts using rich media such as audio files. Chatfish expects to launch its software product in the first quarter of 2001.

The company was co-founded by Jon Steelman and Mike Bogan, and the duo secured their funding at Red Herring's Venture Market South event. Chatfish was one of 44 companies invited to attend and, according to Steelman, one of the only companies representing the streaming media sector.

"We were essentially the youngest, smallest, and only unfunded company there. Most of the other companies there had at least previously been through a substantial angel round," said Steelman.

The VCs were impressed by their business plan. Through a string of contacts, Chatfish came to find Southeast Interactive, which became the software company's lead investor. "We had more VCs interested in putting money in than we were willing to accept," said Steelman of his unusual success story.

Southeast Interactive was joined in the round of funding by Sinclair Broadcast Group, SBK Capital, Cordova/Intellimedia, and Visionary Ventures.

Chatfish's board of directors includes Norvell Miller, managing partner of Southeast Interactive, and Ben Dyer, chairman of Intellimedia Commerce Inc. Also joining the board is David Hosokawa, chairman of Voltage Factory and formerly CEO of TMP Worldwide, which owns Monster.com.

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