Umami Co., the New York-based maker of iPad apps that are in beta development with TV networks, has accepted a $1.65 million funding round from Battery Ventures, NEA and a group of industry angels. Rohini Chakravarthy, Partner at NEA, worked on the investment for the VC.
TV Tech Veterans Secure Funding For New Companion TV Platform
Battery Ventures and NEA Invest in NYC-Based Umami
NEW YORK, August 17 – Umami Co., founded by TV technology veterans Scott Rosenberg and Bryan Slavin, today announced $1.65M in seed funding from Battery Ventures, NEA and industry angels for the company’s state-of-the-art companion TV platform. Umami, a NYC-based startup whose free iPad app is currently in closed beta with TV networks and influential industry players, is set to launch with the fall 2011 television season.
The Umami platform provides TV viewers with enhanced content around the programs they’re watching, while offering networks a turnkey publishing platform for creating rich, interactive and shared experiences. Umami provides consumers with a more robust entertainment experience, while dramatically lowering the barrier for networks to further engage their viewers via a second screen.
“Umami’s approach delivers on the age-old promise of interactive television, filling a gap with TV audiences who are armed with iPads and craving more content and a deeper relationship with their favorite programming,” commented Alex Benik, Principal, Battery Ventures. “We are excited to back a team with a compelling consumer product and deep, first-hand experience serving TV networks and advertisers.”
“We are thrilled to include Umami in our growing portfolio of NYC-based startups,” said Rohini Chakravarthy, Partner at NEA. “The company is a thriving example of the innovation and entrepreneurship that’s generating so much interest in the region, and we are confident that Scott, Bryan and the Umami team will set a new standard in the emerging companion and social TV space.”
Mr. Rosenberg, Umami’s CEO, has spent his career at the nexus of technology and television with posts at Intel, ReplayTV and BlackArrow. He most recently served as VP of Advanced Advertising at Rovi, parent of Gemstar-TV Guide, where his team sold interactive TV advertising to major TV networks, studios and consumer brands. Mr. Slavin, the company’s CTO, has held technology and product leadership roles at Lightningcast (acquired by AOL), Leap Wireless, and Broadsoft. At Lightningcast, he launched broadband video advertising products and solutions with top TV networks and built the industry’s first online video ad network.
“Living room connectivity, tablets and mobile devices have opened a bright new path to television interactivity,” said Mr. Rosenberg. “We are proud to have NEA and Battery backing us and look forward to unveiling Umami this fall.”
About Umami Co.
Founded in New York City in 2010, and backed by Battery Ventures, NEA, and a number of prominent angel investors and advisors, Umami (www.umami.tv) develops products that enhance the consumer TV viewing experience, while dramatically simplifying the creation of these experiences for networks and advertisers. The company, led by digital media veterans from TV Guide, Comcast, AOL and CBS, will debut its first product with the fall 2011 television season. Umami is a loanword from Japanese referring to the fifth basic taste that loosely translates to “enhanced.”
About Battery Ventures
Since 1983, Battery has been investing in technology and innovation worldwide. The firm partners with entrepreneurs and management teams across technology sectors, geographies and stages of a company’s life — from start-up and expansion financing to growth equity and buyouts.
Battery’s Internet & Digital Media portfolio currently includes companies such as: Angie’s List, Bazaarvoice, BlueKai, BlueStem Brands, Digby, Exact Target, Gogobot, Groupon, H.Bloom, Hotel Tonight, j. Hilburn, Send the Trend and Viddy. From offices in Boston, Silicon Valley and Israel, Battery manages $4B in committed capital, including its current fund of $750M. For more information, visit www.battery.com or follow us on Twitter @BatteryVentures.
About New Enterprise Associates (NEA)
New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformative businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With approximately $11 billion in committed capital, NEA invests in information technology, healthcare and energy technology companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO.
The firm’s long track record of successful investing includes more than 170 portfolio company IPOs and more than 280 acquisitions, including investments in technology leaders like Data Domain, CareerBuilder, Diapers.com, Fusion-io, Groupon, Juniper, Macromedia, Playdom, Salesforce.com, and TiVo.
In the U.S., NEA has offices in Menlo Park, California; the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and New York City. In addition, New Enterprise Associates (India) Pvt. Ltd. has offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, India and New Enterprise Associates (Beijing), Ltd. has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China. For additional information, visit www.nea.com.