Dublin internet firm gets $750,000 in VC funding
THREE DUBLIN housemates who founded a music television channel on their apartment balcony have secured $750,000 (€600,000) in venture capital funding.
BalconyTV was founded by housemates Stephen O’Regan, Tom Millett and Pauline Freeman in 2006 when they began filming performances of up-and-coming music artists on their Dame Street balcony.
Using YouTube to share their mini-movies, BalconyTV went on to win Best Music Website at the Digital Media Awards in the company’s first year. A 2007 performance by Dublin band The Script, on the cusp of their big break, has since been viewed 2.5 million times.
Today BalconyTV is produced in more than 30 cities globally and has more than 7,000 videos archived that have been viewed more than 30 million times.
Artists who have performed on BalconyTV include international chart-topping groups Mumford and Sons, The Script, Biffy Clyro and Jessie J.
In an interview with The Irish Times in June this year, O’Regan, the chief executive, admitted figuring out how to make money from the site had been a learning curve.
This week BalconyTV announced $750,000 in funding from Polaris Venture Partners, Lerer Ventures and Greycroft Partners. Former MTV Networks chief executive Judy McGrath will join the company in an advisory role.
The company took up residence in Dogpatch Labs Europe, the Dublin-based incubator for early-stage companies run by funder Polaris in January this year.
“Up until now, we have had the passion of our producers and the love of the artists who have performed,” says O’Regan. “But not unlike busking on the streets, it has been all hustle.
“This has been very much run as a labour of love from my laptop with the people all around the world doing their bit for it, so, considering what we have achieved with nothing, this allows us to see what we can achieve with something.”
O’Regan says the money will be invested in new hires, developing new content, a web platform and accompanying apps.
Peter Flint, a partner at Polaris Venture Partners, says: “BalconyTV represents the future of video music discovery on a global basis.
“Nowhere else on the web – and soon to be mobile – can consumers find such international music diversity.
Noel Ruane of Dogpatch Labs says: “Here is a concept that is not only unique, but already has a very real footprint around the world and is growing completely organically.”