Cloud Video Coming of Age

Sure signs of a maturing company are increased investor interest, executive suite expansion, ongoing R&D, broadened go-to-market strategies, and, of course, a growing customer base -- all of which characterize many cloud video communications service providers today.

Give Me a Highfive
Highfive, for example, this week announced that it has raised $32 million in a third funding round, led by NTT Group subsidiary Dimension Data, with participation from earlier investors Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, and Lightspeed. This brings total funding to $77.4 million, the company said.

Dimension Data's investment -- which also gives the investor a seat on the board -- comes along with a global distribution agreement aimed at expanding the reach of Highfive products worldwide, said Shan Sinha, CEO and co-founder at the cloud video provider, in a No Jitter briefing. Sinha characterized the partnership as a "huge validation of our strategy and the opportunity in front of us."

The Dimension Data-led capital infusion is in large part about Highfive giving "a big bear hug to the entire ecosystem of partners" that it'd like to work with to bring its video solution to more places around the world, Sinha said. "We're eager for 2018 to be the year Highfive goes from being a sort of new entrant -- the upstart of the upstarts -- to being a truly global company that's not only serving small and midmarket customers but enterprise customers," he said.

Highfive, which enables on-the-fly video conferencing via the WebRTC open-source framework, achieved 100% growth in its recurring revenue base in 2017, Sinha said. Highfive has more than 2,000 customers today, Sinha said, with brand names such as Harry's, Paperless Post, The Atlantic, and Warby Parker among them. It hosts more than 140,000 meetings per month, accounting for roughly 16 million minutes, the company reported.

While Highfive has a number of platform enhancements in the works, the solution is already viable for the enterprise (and the company has entertained discussions with companies that have 5,000 or more users, Sinha said). As evidence of its enterprise-readiness, Sinha pointed to examples such as integrations with Microsoft Office 365, Active Directory, and Skype for Business; the rollout of a global data center and points of presence around the world; and telephony integrations that span 35 countries for global voice calling. "What you'll see from us is continued increase in and pace of functionality that makes sense for larger and larger and more complex environments," including announcements to come next month at Enterprise Connect 2018, he said.

Another indicator of its priority to grow out and scale up is that it's beefing up its executive management team, having recently hired a chief financial officer (CFO) and a chief revenue officer (CRO), Sinha said. Celia Poon, who joins Highfive after serving for four and a half years as VP of finance at Twitter, is the company's new CFO. Bobby Marhamat, CRO, comes to Highfive from Revel Systems, where he served most recently as COO.

Don't Be Blue
BlueJeans Network is signaling the next phase of its life as a cloud video service provider with the expansion of its executive suite, as well.

This week the company announced a trio of executives, including a CRO of its own, George Mogannam, a seasoned global sales executive. He joins BlueJeans from compliance vendor Actiance, where he served as SVP of worldwide sales and service. Prior to Actiance, Mogannam led sales teams at Crossbeam Systems (now Blue Coat), Avid Technology, and IBM. "Mogannam's successful track record prepares BlueJeans for continued revenue acceleration and market leadership," the company stated.

To bolster BlueJeans' relationship with key partners, the company has brought on Matthew Collier as SVP of strategic business development. Collier comes with a video pedigree and expertise in "identifying partnerships and alliances required to drive brand awareness and new revenue opportunities." He has held various roles with video companies Lifesize, Polycom, and Verizon, where he focused on video and collaboration, BlueJeans said.

The final new hire is Walt Weisner, who joins the company as chief customer officer. He brings experience transforming customer success organizations for a variety of technology companies, including RingCentral, ShoreTel, and WebEx. BlueJeans has charged him with "building a market-leading post-sales experience to delight customers, accelerate adoption, and drive customer engagement to ensure customer success."

This leadership team has the "proven expertise to scale the company and take advantage of our $40 billion addressable market," said Quentin Gallivan, who joined BlueJeans as CEO in August 2017, in a prepared statement. "Matt, George and Walt have seen this movie before -- they have the right experience and know-how to lead sales, customer success, and business development during an important market inflection point."

Separately, BlueJeans late last month introduced a new configuration of its BlueJeans Rooms with Dolby Conference Phone solution, as we covered in last week's No Jitter Roll news roundup.

Living Large
Lifesize this week showed its ongoing commitment to help customers get more value from their cloud video app with new integrations, features, and updates.

For example, the company announced that the Lifesize service now integrates with video systems from Cisco and Polycom. While users of these systems have previously been able to place calls to Lifesize systems using standard protocols, the integrations provide richer collaboration capabilities, Lifesize said. These include support for directory dialing, dual-stream video, and firewall traversal.

In addition, Lifesize is enabling more efficient routing of point-to-point audio, video, and content calls within an internal network; has updated its Outlook Add-in to simplify how users schedule meetings and launch Lifesize calls; has redesigned its iOS and Android mobile apps with a new UI and mobile-friendly features like pinch-to-zoom, listen-only mode, call and chat notifications, and the ability to text a meeting invitation; and enhanced customization for the Lifesize Phone HD, a conference room smartphone.

Learn more about Video Collaboration & A/V at Enterprise Connect 2018, March 12 to 15, in Orlando, Fla. Register now using the code NOJITTER to save an additional $200 off the Early Bird Pricing or get a free Expo Plus pass.

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