By Sahil Patel
The funding was led by existing investor New Enterprise Associates, with additional participation from the CBC New Media Group (based in Raleigh, NC), Rho Ventures, XFund, company CEO Andrew McCollum, and HBO. The money will be used on product as well as “additional operational and strategic initiatives,” including a relocation of the company’s headquarters to San Francisco, Philo said.
If services such as Sling TV and the Sony PlayStation Vue are aimed at reaching a growing group of adult broadband consumers who have either cut the cord or never paid for TV in the first place, then Philo wants to grab these people when they are the most impressionable — college.
Like Sling and Vue, Philo offers access to live and on-demand TV programming. The company makes this possible by inking deals with pay-TV distributors that have partnerships in place with universities. Current regional partners include Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish in select markets.
For HBO, and even Philo’s aforementioned distribution partners, the value of such a service is obvious. If Philo can encourage college kids to watch TV by offering a service with features that they have come to expect — access across a variety of devices including tablets and smartphones, and improved search and discovery, to name a few — then they are less likely to cut the cord after leaving college. And as distributors and TV networks build over-the-top offerings of their own, the transition from Philo to a Sling, Vue, HBO Now, or any such service could be a lot smoother.
Philo is led by CEO McCollum, who was appointed to the position last fall. A member of the founding team at Facebook, McCollum first joined Philo as an angel investor ahead of its Series A round.