Icelandic billionaire telco owner invests in V-Nova to push video compression

Video compression software company V-Nova plans to increase its R&D work and expand its sales functions around the world after securing a multi-million-pound investment from a company led by a telco-owning Icelandic billionaire.

Thor Björgólfsson, chairman of investment firm Novator, led this latest funding round and will join the V-Nova board.

Björgólfsson is said to bring a wealth of experience in relevant sectors to V-Nova having invested in, and been involved with, several major mobile operators including Play (Poland), WOM (Chile) and Nova (Iceland).

Fabio Murra, SVP product and marketing at V-Nova

Fabio Murra, SVP of product and marketing at V-Nova, told SVG Europe that the company was excited to receive investment from Björgólfsson, a backer he feels is ideally positioned to help take the company forward.

Murra explained: “Thor is a billionaire and owner of three different telcos. For someone who owns telcos to invest in a company that can help them and their customers deliver better and more reliable video over their networks is an endorsement to the technology we have.”

Commented Björgólfsson: “Video services across the globe are striving to deliver higher-quality and more robust video streaming to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded market. I was hugely impressed by the potential Perseus has to address the real needs of operators.”

The money from this latest funding round will be used to expand the R&D teams working on its Perseus video codec, and to increase its sales functions around the world as it looks to gain greater market penetration.

“This is the right time [to seek investment] in the life cycle of the company, and for the whole industry” added Murra. “What we’ve seen over the summer is a lot more people doing live sports streaming. We’ve seen not just a focus on delivering niche content to customers using IP as a platform, but companies like Amazon and DAZN targeting larger sporting events, targeting very large audiences with millions of concurrent users, and using IP to deliver that content.”

He went on: “This is a telling factor of how the market is responding to answer the demand for convenience; everything is connected and service providers are responding to this.”

However, in trying to fulfil the demands of a convenience-hungry public, service providers are running into issues, Murra noted: “This is uncovering issues. The bandwidth and reliability of the networks to deliver these services is another thing. We are seeing more and more IP-based delivery, and more people struggling to deliver when it matters.”

He noted that is where V-Nova’s compression solution, Perseus, is able to help. “Though partnerships and our own work, we have Perseus available on all major platforms,” he added. Because of this, he said, “it really is the right time for us to invest time, resources and effort to connect large market demand with the solution we have”.

Murra pointed to Italy, where Sky and DAZN are using the same unmanaged public network to deliver their video services, yet Sky with Perseus is providing a full HD service to millions of users, whereas DAZN, which does not use Perseus, has had problems this year delivering coverage of Serie A football.

Guido Meardi, the chief executive and co-founder of V-Nova, added: “This significant investment means we can accelerate and expand both our development efforts and sales efforts. Having Thor and the Novator team involved is also a tremendous injection of expertise and experience for V-Nova and we’re looking forward to working together in the coming months.”

V-Nova already counts Eutelsat and Sky among its investors.

V-Nova acquired the full global patent portfolio of video imaging specialist Faroudja Enterprises in January 2017.

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