Elemental Gets $7.5M For GPU Transcoding From Disney Venture Arm

Video processing startup Elemental Technologies announced today that it has pulled in a $7.5 million Series B round of financing led by Disney (s DIS) venture arm Steamboat Ventures. Also participating in the round were existing investors General Catalyst and Voyager Capital. In addition to the financing, Steamboat managing director Scott Hilleboe will join Elemental’s board of directors.

Elemental has two products — Elemental Server and Elemental Live — which use GPU processing cores running in parallel along with some proprietary software to transcode video files with five to 10 times better performance than traditional CPU processing. While its Elemental Server, which was launched in 2009, enabled customers to lower the total cost of ownership for encoding and transcoding on-demand video streams, Elemental Live, launched earlier this year, is aimed at addressing multiple live and mobile video streams in one server box. Elemental Live is capable of encoding up to four simultaneous 1080p HD video feeds or eight simultaneous 720p streams on a single platform.

Elemental CEO Sam Blackman said adding Steamboat as an investor was a “good strategic fit,” as the venture firm could at a very high level make introductions to decision-makers at ABC, ESPN and other Disney media properties. “They’re very media savvy, which is something we have to work on, coming from a tech background. Media is always a learning process, so Steamboat is a good partner as Elemental expands,” Blackman said.

According to Blackman, the funds will be used to expand sales and support as the firm ramps up its efforts to capture larger media customers. “We want to make sure our evaluation customers get a good experience,” he said.

Elemental had previously raised $7.1 million from General Catalyst and Voyager Capital in July 2008. The company is based in Portland, Ore. and has 30 full-time employees. Existing customers include ABC, CBS Interactive (s CBS) and Oceanic Time Warner Cable (s TWC).

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