Vadio Raises $7.5 Million, Former Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff and Sony Pictures COO Added

Rio Caraeff
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rio Caraeff during the Digital Entertainment World Conference on Feb. 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. 

Portland, Oregon-based startup Vadio, which provides a business-to-business music video platform to streaming-audio services, has closed a $7.5 million round of Series A funding led by New York-based venture capital firm Marker LLC. The company is also staffing up: Yair Landau, former president of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, has been appointed Vadio’s new chairman and COO, while former Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff has joined Vadio’s board of advisors.

Early Vadio clients include Virgin International, Nova Entertainment, European Media Group and Grupo Radio Centro, but CEO Bryce Clemmer says the company is expected to announce a new partner in the coming weeks, and another in the third quarter.

He declined to name specifics, but certainly Spotify is the most high-profile streaming company rumored to be entering the video business -- as soon as May 20, to be precise, a day that the streaming service will be giving a presentation to media -- "we've got some news," read the company's invitation. “We’ve been in discussions with every major streaming platform out there,” Clemmer says. “What this capital has provided us is the ability to go out and sign one or two of the largest streaming platforms in the world and actually support the type of traffic these partnerships would deliver.”

Caraeff likens Vadio to the early days of Vevo, where he was founding CEO in 2009 after long stints at Universal Music Group and Sony Pictures Digital. “One of our goals was to increase music video ubiquity in more ways than ever before, and be compatible with all the different platforms, territories and use cases,” Caraeff tells Billboard. “I always wanted to take the friction out of video -- it’s hard for businesses to integrate -- and when I met Bryce and learned how Vadio’s ambition was to do just that, I could relate to the opportunity.”

And there’s big business potential, too: online video advertising accounted for 7 percent of the $49.5 billion in U.S. online advertising, or roughly $3.46 billion, per the Internet Advertising Bureau’s 2014 Revenue report.  

Clemmer points to Spotify and Pandora’s recent introduction of video advertising as two bellwethers of the growing trend. “In some cases, they’ve got the cart in front of the horse, using video ads before the user experience has evolved itself. But I think that signals that video inventory is more valuable to the business and user, it’s just a matter of time before all these platforms become visualized.”