ViKi announces $4.3M funding and launches out of beta

10 December 2010 21 h 59 min Comments Off

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ViKi, a community-powered site that allows anyone to enjoy and discover world TV and movies in their own language, today launched out of beta and is announcing Series A funding of $4.3 million.

The funding comes from Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, and Neoteny Labs, among others, and private investments from media executives, including Rajesh Sawhney, President of Reliance Entertainment of India, and Alex Zubillaga, former global head of digital at Warner Music. The capital will be used to accelerate expansion in global markets and partnerships with content providers.

The site, previously known as ViiKii, is the first and fastest platform for real-time subtitling of video in over 100 languages. ViKi leverages the power of its translator community to both subtitle and share their love of world TV and movies–from Japanese Anime to Spanish Novelas to Korean dramas to Egyptian movies to Bollywood and other genres–with new audiences.

Translators subtitle shows into their native languages under a Creative Commons license agreement, via ViKi’s integrated and systematic platform, which includes revision history and user-generated edits.

“ViKi opens new markets for content owners, by finding new audiences and revenue streams. Viki also helps consumers by introducing them to new and unique international video content they may not have found otherwise,” said Reid Hoffman, Partner at Greylock, and investor in key platforms and networks such as Facebook, Zynga and Flickr.

“Playful Kiss”, a recent Korean drama, became an overnight web sensation with its exclusive 10-day US run on ViKi, and through ViKi’s distribution partner, Hulu. ViKi licensed the content for other regions, and the series was subtitled in over 40 languages, 20 of which were completed in the first 24 hours. Playful Kiss on ViKi reached US cable-sized audiences, and the series received legions of new fans across the globe. The success of the series led to a three way partnership between the drama’s producers, YouTube and ViKi, for a follow-on Special Edition, which played on an exclusive YouTube channel, with subtitles in ten languages contributed by the ViKi community within two days.

“ViKi helped Playful Kiss find its audience” said Song Byung Joon, CEO of Group 8, the production studio behind the series. “We’ve partnered with ViKi on several series, and are extremely happy to see how our old and new shows are generating significant new revenues for us from new markets. It is rewarding to see audiences in so many countries fall in love with Playful Kiss and have the opportunity to view the show in their own languages.”

The idea for ViKi, a play on the words video and wiki, was inspired by co-founder Jiwon Moon’s own experience with the language barriers that she dealt with as a Korean student studying education technology at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Giving people a way to learn and improve language both by contributing to the translations and helping bring global entertainment to new fans is at the heart of the ViKi community, and is what has made the site so unique since its inception.

“Together with my co-founders Jiwon Moon and Changseong Ho, and with the support of our passionate translator community, we are removing the major wedge between great entertainment and its audience,” said Razmig Hovaghimian, co-founder and CEO of ViKi. “In the process, we are also unlocking new and additive value for content owners worldwide.”

With over 1 billion streams and 100 million words subtitled in over 143 languages, including Klingonese, ViKi has the most translated global video content available anywhere online.

About ViKi
Founded in 2008 and based in Palo Alto and Singapore, ViKi is a way for people to discover and enjoy the best of world TV and movies in their own language. With over 100 million words subtitled and thousands of hours of licensed videos from around the world, ViKi offers the widest variety of translated global video content available. The company has raised $4.3 million from Greylock Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, Neoteny Labs, 500 Startups, Omidyar Network, The Raine Group and angels from Japan, India, and Silicon Valley.

SOURCE: ViKi (08/12/2010)

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