Digital Dealmakers

Ron Yekutiel, Chairman and CEO of Kaltura

The player: Ron Yekutiel, chairman and CEO of Kaltura, an open-source online video platform and service

The play: Kaltura is aiming to be the Linux of online video platforms and offers a video player, syndication, delivery and other standard Internet TV services on an open-source basis. That means the source code for those tools is free for anyone to use, integrate with, enhance and develop upon. “Every industry has its open-source leader. We are doing that for online video,” Mr. Yekutiel said.

Ron Yekutiel

The pitch: The promise behind an open-source platform is its ability to spur innovation quickly. Because Kaltura’s technology and tools are not proprietary, anyone can develop and build additional functionality into the platform for others to use. “The fact that it is so flexible enables integration points for media companies, social networking and integration into existing platforms,” Mr. Yekutiel said.

In the mix: Kaltura’s clients include telenovela producer Dori Media, PBS station WNET-TV in New York, WordPress, Coca-Cola, Universal Studios, Lionsgate, Metacafe and Wikimedia Foundation. Under the Wikimedia deal, Kaltura’s open-source video development tools will be accessible to anyone updating and creating Wikipedia entries, giving online video capability to the popular Web encyclopedia.

Kaltura competes with Internet TV technology firms Brightcove, FeedRoom and PermissionTV, but its competitive differentiator is being an open-source solution.

The money guys: The platform itself is free for anyone to use. Additional capabilities such as maintenance and support, as well as streaming, hosting, syndication and ad serving, are included in a license fee that is below the industry average, Mr. Yekutiel said. The company likely will be profitable in 2010. Kaltura raised $2 million in venture funding from Avalon Ventures in a first round and an undisclosed amount from 406 Ventures and Avalon in a second round.

The pros: Because an open-source solution enables anyone to create additional features, costs for research and development are lower. “It takes less time and we have more opportunities and need less people in-house because other companies are developing and designing new applications for us,” he said.

The cons: Despite offering a different value proposition from competitors, Kaltura is squaring off against entrenched Internet TV technology providers like Brightcove, PermissionTV, thePlatform and others.

Backstory: Mr. Yekutiel founded the company in 2006 and launched it in 2007 with offices in New York and Israel.

Background: Mr. Yekutiel was born in Israel and raised in both Israel and the United States, including Northern California. He is a serial entrepreneur and also the co-founding director and vice president of the Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Israeli Business Forum in Canada. He earned a master’s degree in business from the University of Pennsylvania and lives in New York.

Who knew? While traveling around the world in 1998, Mr. Yekutiel spent several months living with remote tribes in Papua New Guinea and the Amazon.


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