Peer5, which helps publishers stream video to large audiences, is announcing that it has raised $2.5 million in seed funding.
I wrote about the startup earlier this year when it was part of Y Combinator. CEO Hadar Weiss said he raised the funding after YC Demo Day from investors including FundersClub, Oriza Ventures, Tank Hill Ventures, Leorsa Group, Ed Roman and Buddy Anheim.
In Weiss’ words, the problem that Peer5 is trying to solve is that “the Internet simply can’t hold TV-sized audiences.” In other words, the existing infrastructure can’t deliver video to millions of concurrent viewers — think of times you’ve tried to watch a popular show like Game of Thrones and the video just kept freezing up.
Peer5 aims to solve this by sitting on top of the existing CDNs. The CDNs still push the video out to the initial viewers, but those viewers’ devices can then be used to push video to other viewers — Weiss has compared it to adding lanes to a highway.
To do this, Peer5 uses WebRTC technology, which both Microsoft and Apple have recently said they will support. Weiss explained that usually, the video publishers offer different incentives (such as a higher-quality broadcast) to viewers so that they opt-in to participate.
How many viewers can Peer5 handle? Weiss said the company recently supported its first event with more than 1 million concurrent viewers, up from 40,000 two years ago. Next up: Trying to get to 10 million concurrent viewers.
“We believe that we are at the beginning of a massive technological shift in the TV industry,” Weiss said in an email. “Over time, as TV continues to come online, P2P CDNs like Peer5, will simply be mandatory at that scale!”