Vessel Completes $57.5 Million Series B Funding
Vessel, a streaming-video service that debuted in March, has secured a Series B round of funding valued at $57.5 million, led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP). IVP joins a group of investors that have now collectively raised a total of $134 million -- Benchmark, Greylock Partners and Bezos Expeditions.
“What we are trying to accomplish -- creating a video platform that delights consumers and creators alike -- is ambitious,” said Jason Kilar, CEO and co-founder of Vessel, in a post on the Vessel blog Friday (April 17) afternoon. “Each of these investors brings experience, resources and long-term thinking that will guide us as we continue pursuing our ambitions. Their investment in Vessel will enable us to grow, as a company and a business, equipped with the world-class team and resources we need to make our visions real.”
Unlike its closest rival YouTube, Vessel is a curated video service that carefully selects content partners for its free and premium $2.99/month tiers -- Ellen, The NBA, Unbox Therapy, Caspar Lee and Epic Meal Time among them. That includes Warner Music, which in Vessel’s first three weeks debuted new music videos from its artists Blake Shelton, Hunter Hayes, Kaskade and For King & Country, as well as Universal Music Group, which premiered Kiesza’s “Sound Of A Woman” earlier this month. Subscription-based premium videos are exclusive to Vessel for a minimum of three days before becoming available on free platforms like YouTube, Vevo and Hulu, the latter of which Kilar previously worked as its founding CEO.
The coming months will further test Vessel’s value as YouTube preps two expected subscription-based services, including the currently-in-beta Music Key and a second ad-free offering to compete more directly with Netflix.
Vivian Lewit, YouTube’s label relations chief, explained the strategy behind the expansion of Music Key to Billboard last month. “The perception across the board is that subscriptions are really important to grow the revenue base in the music industry, which is why we have launched our first subscription service,” Lewit said.” While we continue to grow our ad-supported Partner revenue 50 percent year over year, we recognize the need to augment that with additional streams for income coming from individual fans and people that consume music. It's about providing more options.”