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Solving the Multimedia Needle in the Haystack Problem

Searching online for text information has become a commodity, but the quest for the right audio, video or combined multimedia file presents a larger challenge. So StreamSearch.com Inc., located in (of all places) St. Louis, is attempting to make it as easy to find a sound file as a stock quote.

"StreamSearch is positioning itself to be the Yahoo! of audio and video," said Chief Executive Officer and founder Robert Shambro. "We'll be like a big cable company with no monthly fees." Income will come from some advertising and pay-per-view, but transaction fees will comprise most of the revenue stream. (StreamSearch does not charge content providers directly.)

Shambro said that other companies and search engines may enter this market, but StreamSearch boasts an innate advantage due to its proprietary technology. By adding meta data to each item it becomes more visible to search engines, and users are able to access exactly what they want.

"Search engines have a lot of power, but they don't have the business development teams or the system to aggregate multimedia URLs. We also have the deals in place with many of these audio and video sites, which allows us to link directly to the proper file without going through the top of their sites."

The company received its $2 million Round 1 seed funding in May from various angels. A second round followed in August, raising $9 million from Rare Medium Group, Brentwood Venture Capital, and Advantage Capital. The company is now working on closing a $30 million mezzanine round from strategic investors and investment banks.

"When you come up with a new idea, you need to do a whole lot more selling, teaching and explaining in order to get your fundraising," Shambro said. "When we were first raising the money six months ago there wasn't all that much attention in the audio and video space. A lot of investors didn't see it coming. But when they do 'get it,' it's a very powerful message."

Funding, however, has been precipitous. Shambro met a Brentwood Capital rep on a plane from New York to Boston and ran into a Rare Medium rep in the Flying Fish bar in Seattle.

Whether the company itself succeeds in a big way, the idea of cataloguing and searching for multimedia content is certain to become part of the equation.

"StreamSearch has done a surprisingly good job on its user interface," said Seamus McAteer, director of Web Technology Strategies for Jupiter Communications. "As a standalone it may struggle to be a destination, but could be a useful addition if integrated as part of an established portal. It will become a prime take-over candidate if it continues to build out its offering--or it could syndicate elements of its offering to others."

Company Name: StreamSearch.com Inc.
Address: 7733 Forsyth, 8th Floor, St. Louis, Mo. 63105
Phone: (314)-746-1850
Fax: (314)-746-1899
Contact e-mail address: roberts@streamsearch.com
Web address: http://www.streamsearch.com
Employees: 101-150
Total Funding: $11,000,000
Investors: Rare Medium Group, Brentwood Venture Capital, Advantage Capital, various angels.


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