Vessel, the digital subscription video service founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, has raised $ 57.5 million in Series B funding, led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP).
The new funding brings San Francisco-based Vessel to more than $ 134 million in capital raised to date. Vessel’s Series A investors – Greylock Partners, Benchmark, and Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions – also participated in the round.
The startup launched its service at $ 2.99 per month last month, promising exclusive and early access to content from more than 130 partners. Vessel also offers free, ad-supported content – which isn’t exclusive – from a total of over 175 creators and media companies.
To make money from the subscription service, YouTubers and other creators must give Vessel an exclusive window of at least 72 hours on the content, after which they are free to distribute it anywhere. Vessel says it will pay content partners 60% of subscription revenue and 70% of ad revenue.
“If you had to support a team to create the world’s most advanced, user-friendly video platform, it would be the team,” IVP general partner Todd Chaffee wrote in a blog post. “Vessel founders Jason Kilar (CEO) and Richard Tom (CTO) are incredibly talented entrepreneurs with a huge track record of success. Chaffee led IVP’s previous investments in Netflix, Twitter and other consumer-focused technology companies.
Video creators and producers who have signed up to launch their first videos on Vessel in the exclusive three-day window include “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”; multi-channel networks such as Machinima, Tastemade and DanceOn; A + E networks and discovery communications; YouTube creators Rhett & Link, Shane Dawson, Connor Franta and GloZell Green; Failure of the army; and Nerdist Industries from Legendary Pictures.
Vessel’s partners for non-exclusive content (in the free version of the service) include “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” from NBCUniversal; the NBA; Funny or die; CollegeHumor; BuzzFeed; and Vevo, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.
Vessel plans to use the additional funds to grow the business, increase headcount (currently around 40 employees), content partnerships and marketing.
“If you are passionate about video, media and technology, we are recruiting – discussing! Kilar wrote in a blog post announcing the new fundraising round, which evidently doubled as an announcement to seek help.