LiveLike raises $9.6M to get more broadcasters streaming in VR

 techcrunch.com  2/15/2018 3:10:06 PM   Fitz Tepper

LiveLike, a startup that powers VR streaming experiences for broadcasters like FOX Sports and Sky, has raised a $9.6M Series B round led by Greycroft Partners and Lepe Partners. This brings total funding raised to just over $23M.

As a refresher, LiveLike’s VR experience let you select different camera angles, sit in and look around a virtual “suite”, view pre-produced content and more. We’ve looked at the experience before, and think it’s much more interactive than VR solutions that just provide viewers with a floating screen to watch the game.

LiveLike is primarily known for this white-labeled app that it provides broadcasters. These heavily customized apps let rights holders choose how they want to make VR content available to users. Some decide to make live content available (like FOX Sports with the MLS Cup), and some choose to have achieved VR  footage of past sporting events. Either way, LiveLike will power the VR distribution (and often the production) for the desired events.

In 2017 LiveLike produced 76 games in five countries, and streamed over 300 hours of original VR sports content.

The VR startup has also started working with leagues and federations – like the French Tennis Federation, in a role that has them producing an entire sporting event and making that VR stream available to any broadcasting partner that wants it. Miheer Walavalkar, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of LiveLike explained that this is a great way for the startup to acquire a lot of customers (i.e broadcasters) at once. Instead of approaching networks individually, league-level deals let LiveLike show off its tech to a bunch of broadcasters at once, which can end up with them liking LiveLike enough to hire them for future, unrelated sporting events.

LiveLIke plans on using the funding to support general growth, especially building up the architecture needed to support live streaming on such a large scale. The startup is also known to experiment with different technologies within VR – for example last year the launched a feature that integrates their streaming app with Facebook so you can invite friends into your virtual “suite” and hangout and talk while watching the game. They’re also actively looking at AR and MR as ways to create new viewing experiences for broadcasters (and ultimately viewers).

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