Pluggd Announces Investors

Dec 8th, 2006 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Podcast Directory Sites

PluggdPluggd, a startup that focuses on using speech-recognition to enhance audio and video search, today disclosed the investors who have backed the company since its inception, and the addition of Intel Capital as an investor.

The company is reported to have raised $1.65 million to build out its technology. A demo of the company’s HearHere search technology is available at the Pluggd site.
“The current Internet media market, rich in potential growth, is clearly lacking a viable search tool,” said Angela Biever, vice president, Intel Capital, and managing director for the Consumer Internet Sector. “Pluggd addresses that need directly with their easy-to-use solution for audio and video search.‚Äù

Earlier in the year, Pluggd introduced a podcast directory and its plans to use speech-recognition to allow searching for words contained within the audio of podcasts and other media files. The company’s technology combines voice recognition, natural language processing, and video analysis techniques to enhance search results and allow for contextually targeted advertising.

‚ÄúWe’re pleased by the support of this eminent group of technologists and business leaders,” said Alex Castro, CEO of Pluggd. “We believe audio and video search will be key to revolutionizing the $95 billion dollar TV and radio advertising market. The advice and strategic counsel from these investors will be very helpful as we embrace this challenge.

Pluggd also announced the appointment of Cornelius Willis, a technology executive with extensive experience in digital media and platform marketing, to lead the company’s business development, marketing and advertising sales efforts.

“We’ve got very ambitious plans for Pluggd,” said CEO Alex Castro, ” and Cornelius’ experience launching companies and developing ecosystems is really going to accelerate our growth.

In their statement, they included messages of support from a variety of their investors.

  • ‚ÄúI am certain that Pluggd is looking at a huge market opportunity,‚Äù said John Miner, former Intel Capital president and retired vice president of Intel. ‚ÄúTelevision, radio and new forms of user-generated content are moving rapidly to the Internet for delivery, bringing with them billions of dollars in potential advertising revenue. Pluggd‚Äôs ability to target highly-segmented, very valuable new audiences, aims to be right at the center of that perfect storm.‚Äù
  • ‚ÄúAlex Castro has brought together a very impressive team to execute on Pluggd‚Äôs vision,‚Äù said Scott Oki, founder of Oki Enterprises and former senior vice president for sales, marketing and service at Microsoft. ‚ÄúHe has tremendous enthusiasm and talent and I think they will reshape the search market.‚Äù
  • “Pluggd’s edge comes from clever use of a host of technologies, along with a very innovative interface design,” said Paul Maritz, founder and CEO of PiCorp, and former Microsoft group vice president of systems and applications. “It is one of the most interesting new companies I’ve seen in a long time.”
  • Dan Rosen, chairman of the Alliance of Angels and CEO of Dan Rosen & Associates said Castro’s technical leadership and entrepreneurial energy was striking. “Alex has the passion, ability and enthusiasm to create a category-defining company.‚Äù
  • ‚ÄúThere are a number of players attempting to make headway in the audio and video search category,‚Äù said Jack Breese, former director of research and technology at Microsoft where he managed intelligent systems including speech recognition and natural language processing. ‚ÄúPluggd has a highly technical but very pragmatic approach that I think will surprise a lot of people.‚Äù
  • “The team at Pluggd has created some very disruptive technologies that have the potential to transform the consumption of media and entertainment,” said Sujal Patel, Founder and CTO, Isilon Systems. “I am bullish about the business opportunities that reside in Pluggd’s future.‚Äù

Other Pluggd investors include:

  • Brian Magierski, CEO of Kalivo, former co-founder/CEO of iMark (acquired by Ariba)
  • Fraser Black, technology investor
  • Bill Bryant, founder and investor in numerous search-focused startups including Netbot, Medio and Singingfish
  • Alex Alben, former executive at Starwave and RealNetworks
  • Barry Newman, venture partner at NeoCarta, former vice chairman of the technology
    group at Bear Stearns
  • Mark Klebanoff, former chief financial officer at RealNetworks

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