Genvid raises $10 million from Horizons Ventures for an interactive streaming engine

Genvid Technologies has raised $10 million in funding for its interactive streaming engine. The money came from Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing.

The interactive streaming engine enables customers to monetize livestreams through sponsorships and in-stream purchases. Genvid CEO Jacob Navok said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company will use the funds to try to triple the company’s growth in the next couple of years.

New York-based Genvid uses its cloud streaming technology to create new kinds of services, such as interactive streams for esports tournaments that are broadcast to platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and others. It can, for instance, enable viewers to spectate an esports match where they can change which esports athlete they are following on the fly. Advertisers can also show unique ads to the viewers based on the viewers’ likes.

“Our earliest business to take off will be the esports tournament business,” Navok said. “We have a series of esports tournaments coming that our customers will announce.”

Genvid will specifically use the money to grow its current stack of technologies as well as build new media, bespoke offerings and platform teams. Furthermore, the company will continue its international and vertical expansions, moving beyond esports into mobile, arcade and VR gaming across the U.S., European Union, Japan and China, as well as new opportunities in real sports and the wider media.

“Customer interest in our solutions is growing every day,” Navok said. “Our patented, cross-platform interactive streaming engine can be used directly on popular platforms like Twitch, and across infrastructures and engines such as Amazon Web Services, Unreal and Unity. And we are thrilled to bring on Horizons Ventures, whose tremendous track record among investments includes Facebook, Siri, Zoom, Waze, Spotify and now Genvid.”

Navok said that Genvid is also creating new businesses based on the interactive streaming technology. Some are sports-related projects that allow viewers to interactive with live sports streams. Other projects are related to gaming content that is being developed with Genvid from the ground up. And lastly, Genvid is working on a new live television format where a user can change what happens in the live show.

“Streaming is one of the biggest opportunities for media, telecom and sports companies,” said Jonathan Tam of Horizons Ventures, who will be joining Genvid’s board, in a statement. “With our
deep experience in the media and telecom space, particularly in the United States, Europe and China, we saw applications for Genvid’s technology across companies in our network. Now we’re
going to help them grow and scale even faster.”

Navok also said that Unity developers who integrate the Genvid software development kit starting in September will be able to introduce interactive streams in their games.

“Our main goal is to make it as easy and attractive as possible for developers to create awesome viewer-facing content” said Genvid chief operating officer Chris Cataldi, in a statement. “This new deal, coupled with the easy to use and always improving Genvid plugin for Unity, are prime examples of why developers choose Genvid to power their interactive broadcast programming.”

Navok said Genvid’s technology was most recently used earlier this month at Evo 2018 by Chilean game developer AOne Games for live tournament broadcasts of its new Unreal Engine 4-based fighting game Omen of Sorrow.

Genvid interactivity was available directly on Twitch through a Twitch Extension, which enabled users (in the case of this tournament, the casters using instant replay) to toggle on/off in real time the character hitboxes, player inputs and heads-up display.

Additional functionality such as viewer cheering and display of win/loss probability are already in the works for future tournaments, with more dates and details to be announced soon.

“We’re building a strong network of partners among media and telecom firms, in some cases negotiating reseller agreements and in other cases we’re doing joint prototyping and research,” Navok said. “The sports field is particularly interesting for us because we’ve seen a lot of innovation on data, which means that it can be coupled with our broadcast technology to create interactive experiences.”

Genvid is also announcing the establishment of Genvid Technologies Japan K.K., the company’s latest international office located in Tokyo, Japan. Navok said that Genvid’s technology has proven popular among Japanese developers and media companies, and the new subsidiary will be growing staff to market and support the activities.

In early September, Genvid’s tech will be used for the esports title Blitz Freak in the Red Bull Gaming Sphere Tokyo arena. And ActEvolve, a Japanese indie game developer using Unity, will also use Genvid.

“We’re very focused on having an international business,” Navok said.

Genvid was founded in 2016. Beyond Horizons Ventures, the investors include Makers Fund, March Capital Partners, and OCA Ventures. Genvid previously raised $6 million in April, and to date it has now raised $20 million. The company has 26 employees, and it is hiring.