Noticing the prodigious increase in video streaming across the web and the prohibitive costs involved in transcoding, serial entrepreneurs Doug Petkanics and Eric Tang built a platform that links encoding providers with anyone who needs processing power for video services.
The infrastructure functions as a “token coordinating network,” incentivizing those with computing power to join and match the needs of those looking to stream, by offering the ability to get paid for their idle processing power in ethereum.
Currently the company has more than 30 providers of compute power on the platform, and more than 100 events have streamed video through Liverpeer. Though Petkanics told TechCrunch, those users may have been an “early-adopter, philosophically-aligned crowd.”
Livepeer is designed for developers who want to build applications that include live video, users who want to stream video, gaming, coding, entertainment, or educational courses, and broadcasters who currently have large audiences and high streaming bills or infrastructure costs.
By making use of idle processing power, Liverpeer drives down the price for encoding. Petkanics said the system is 10 times cheaper than incumbent streaming providers, equivalent to two streams for roughly 70 cents per day, compared to $3 per stream per hour of traditional streaming services.
Founders see an additional growth opportunity in bootstrapping the excess capacity of GPUs used by crypto miners, thereby further reducing costs. Though they also said the Series A funding will go towards implementing applications outside of the purview of crypto-fans to enter the larger marketplace.
The company is offering six months free for new participants as an inducement to try the platform.
Video infrastructure behemoth Brightcove’s former CEO David Mendels joined the upstart as an advisor to the company. And Houseparty founder Ben Rubin was part of the Series A round. Additionally, Digital Currency Group — which acquired CoinDesk in 2016 — Libertus, Collaborative Fund, Notation Capital, Compound, North Island and StakeZero also provided funding.