Save your FREE seat for Streaming Media Connect this August. Register Now!

iBEAM Glows in Light of Financing

On Monday, iBEAM (www.ibeam.com) announced it received a $30 million investment from Williams Communications and $10 million from some unnamed investors. After the deal is concluded, Williams will own 49 percent of the company, with the overall investment meaning that the three investors will now own 65 percent of iBEAM.

According to Drew Henry, senior VP of marketing for iBEAM, the deal also means Williams will resell iBEAM's services. As part of the deal, Williams will elect four members to iBEAM’s board of directors, in an expansion of the existing board to nine directors.

"Williams Communications is a recognized leader in its field and we look forward to leveraging our individual but inter-related strengths into a mutually beneficial, long-term strategic relationship," said Peter Desnoes, president, chairman and CEO of iBEAM, in a statement.

Henry called the deal important for the streaming industry and for iBEAM. "We have always had the perspective that this space is one that is growing and will continue to grow," he said. Henry pointed out that iBEAM's relationship with Williams dates back a few years, when Williams started providing satellite and ATM services for the company. Now iBEAM will have access to Williams' growing fiber optic network.

So what does the deal mean for iBEAM's satellite delivery service? Henry said that the company will continue to provide those services for ISPs that have its edge devices. "As we move forward, we'll continue to provide hybrid satellite/fiber optic network," he said. "Our relationship with Williams will provide higher quality terrestrial distribution than we see today, but in the end we fundamentally believe we can deliver high quality from edge networks with the satellite delivery model."

In April, iBEAM released an announcement that it was retaining investment banking firm Morgan Stanley to pursue funding. At that time, iBEAM said it would run out of money in Q3. Henry didn't reveal how much longer Monday's investment would fund the company, but said it's striving to reach cash flow profitability. "We're very focused on managing expenses," he said. In April, iBEAM laid off about 140 employees or about 25 percent of its workforce to reduce expenses.

iBEAM has long been touting its entertainment customers. But Henry said that two-thirds of its revenues from enterprise customers. "We’re focused on the streaming communications segment," he said. "We think there's a significant opportunity for enterprise services." But Henry acknowledged that the entertainment side is where lots of the headlines are.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues