Plex, the maker of streaming media software, announced today that it has raised $50 million in growth equity rounds before the planned business expansion into rental, purchasing and subscription content from existing investors.
It has become the first financing platform since 2014 and used in part to buy shares and alternatives from previous acquisitions of the initial seed investors and shareholders and to provide some liquidity to the company’s primary employees. Of the $50 million raised, $15 million will used as new growth capital. Technically Plex’s Series C – The fund declined to disclose its valuation because of this fund, but its share of existing investors, including Kleiner Perkins and Nexstar, for example, has been relatively low. Meanwhile, some of its early investors were able to get a return of 10 xs or more on their shares.
As part of this round, Intercap Chairman and CEO Jason Chapnik has joined the Board of Directors as Chairman, and Intercap President James Merkur has also joined the Board. With this funding, Plex has raised more than $60 million. To this day, Plex has been wary of fundraising because Plex CEO Keith Valory said, “We didn’t really have it.” That means the company has been profitable on its own.
However, things have been changing at Plex in recent years. While it has always transmitted its software to organize movies, TVs, music and photos on the home networks of home media enthusiasts, Plex has begun to follow the larger market of cord cutters with the introduction of 2017’s low cost, DIY streaming TV service.
In the years that followed, it expanded to free, ad-supported streaming, and last year launched a live TV service backed by the ad, with rivals such as Pluto TV, owned by Viacom CBS. Today, Plex offers access to personal media libraries, streaming music and other content, including podcasts, as well as more than 20,000 free on-demand movies and shows in 193 countries, and more than 150 free live TV channels. As it has expanded the scope of services offered, it has also reduced barriers to the entry of Plex newcomers. Users no longer need to sign up for an account to access ad-supported video or live linear streaming services, which affects Plex’s business model.