Photo: Blue Jeans Networks
Blue Jeans Network is one hot startup to watch.It’s a videoconferencing service with customers like Facebook, Foursquare, and Match.com.
Now the company is about to storm the enterprise: it just scored a major contract with one of the world’s largest audio conference vendors, InterCall.
InterCall serves three quarters of the Fortune 1000 and now Blue Jeans will become InterCall’s go-to video conferencing service.
That’s a big vote of confidence for this unusual company.
Blue Jeans doesn’t compete directly with other video conferencing services out there from giants like Cisco, Google, Microsoft Lync, Skype, or Polycom. Instead, it solves their biggest problem — making them all work together. So, for instance, a person using Cisco’s TelePresence can chat with one on Skype.
“We say bring your own endpoint,” says CEO and co-founder Krish Ramakrishnan.
This startup is doubly intriguing because Ramakrishnan is an ex-Cisco VP, and he’s proving Cisco’s much-touted vision of video in the enterprise is wrong.
Ramakrishnan sold his two first startups to Cisco and stayed for six years after the second sale. (In 1993 he sold a company called Internet Junction to Cisco for $5.5 million. He was CEO of TopSpin when Cisco bought it in 2005 for $250 million.)
Cisco has been wanting enterprises to adopt video for years. That’s because video is hard on an enterprise network — especially videoconferencing where each desktop is talking to multiple others. Enterprises need to buy lots of expensive equipment to make that work. That’s a business opportunity for Cisco.
But with Blue Jeans, they don’t have to. By using its cloud service, enterprises don’t have to upgrade their networks with a super expensive piece of networking equipment, known as a Multipoint Control Unit (MCU). An MCU can cost $250,000 or more. “We call Blue Jeans the MCU killer,” Ramakrishnan laughs.
Ramakrishnan wouldn’t say if he hopes one day to sell this startup to Cisco, too. Right now, the company is well funded on its own. It launched in 2009 and raised $23 million in two rounds, backed by Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and New Enterprise Associates.
It employees 70 people and has other industry heavy hitters in its camp, including Charlie Giancarlo as a board member. Giancarlo was the former No. 2 man at Cisco and was also on the board at Skype.