The Return of Redlasso?


This time last year, Redlasso was seeking $15 million in new VC funding to build out its beta service, which allowed bloggers to embed clips from local and national television networks. It also was trying to work out licensing agreements with various broadcasters, including three that had already asked Redlasso to cease and desist. One month later, two of the three — Hulu backers NBC and Fox — filed suit, effectively shutting down both Redlasso’s beta and its fundraising.

Pretty big hits, but not a knockout. The Philly startup spent the subsequent year switching its CEO (Ken Hayward replaced in Q1 by Redlasso co-founder and COO Al McGowan), signing local news licensing agreements (Fox affiliates announced, other local deals to be disclosed in next few weeks) and quietly raising $2 million in new VC funding (it had previously raised $9.7 million).

“We’ve really reduced our expenses over the past year,” McGowan says. “We have a model that can get us to break-even with existing funding in place… We’re seeing a lot of traction on the syndication side.”

The $2 million round is tranched out, with $1.25 million called down so far. It was led by local real estate executive Daniel Keating III, with return backers Guggenheim Venture Partners and Osage Ventures also participating. Neither Osage nor past backer Anthem Capital kept their board seats, which had been held by Gerry Schaafsma and Rob Adelson, respectively.

McGowan acknowledges that television networks like CNBC have improved their online video offerings since Redlasso’s beta shut down, but still believes that bloggers would prefer an aggregated option. “We always expected that broadcasters would open up their content, but we can be just another way for them to do that,” he says. “Bloggers and other online content producers would prefer to visit one site than one thousand, particularly with a customized solution.”

The real key, therefore, will be for Redlasso to sign national broadcasters alongside the local ones. I’m with McGowan that aggregation would make a blogger’s life easier (as it did via Redlasso’s beta), but it’s hard to offer a comprehensive content solution when the largest producers aren’t a part of it.