Digital Dealmakers: Hilmi Ozguc

Jan 22, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The player: Hilmi Ozguc, CEO and founder of Maven Networks, an online TV technology firm

The play: Maven provides the software and services major media companies can use to create, deliver and syndicate broadband video and sell ads in those clips. Maven has worked with broadcast networks NBC and CBS to power some of their online video offerings, including the Web site for CBS’s CSTV. Maven has also worked with a number of film studios to create broadband video to market their films. “We are trying to help the major media companies take their success and skill set and replicate that online so they become the destination and have a direct-to-consumer play, and don’t have to rely on middlemen to distribute their content,” Mr. Ozguc said.

The pitch: With more than four years under its belt, Mr. Ozguc said Maven focuses on offering a broad set of tools to media companies, including magazine publishers and TV networks. This week, the company plans to introduce a new division offering professional consulting services on operations, strategy and technology. Maven also blends national and local content with national and local ads.

In the mix: Maven faces stiff competition from Internet TV firm Brightcove, as well as more pure-play technology firms like Entriq and Extend Media. The money guys: Mr. Ozguc founded the company in 2002 and received $5 million in funding from General Catalyst Partners. In 2004, General Catalyst and Accel contributed $10 million.

The company has also raised an additional $15 million. Maven has invested $20 million in funding in the infrastructure and network. Revenues in 2007 will be five times that of 2006, he said. Mr. Ozguc said he expects the company to turn profitable in two years.

Pros: Research firm eMarketer predicts that online video ad spending will grow 89 percent this year to $775 million, up from $410 million last year. “The promise is it’s going to be an enormous business,” Mr. Ozguc said.

Cons: On the flip side, online video is still a new business. Players are refining successful business models and figuring out fickle consumer tastes, Mr. Ozguc said. “The bet we are making is that professionally produced content wins over user-generated content.”

Backstory: Mr. Ozguc, 44, was born in Turkey and raised in Germany. He earned a master’s degree in software engineering at Boston University. He is married and has a four year-old daughter. Previously, he co-founded Narrative Communications, which provided rich media advertising solutions and was later acquired by @Home, and he also worked at Lotus Development Corp.

Who knew:

Mr. Ozguc grew up in a diplomatic family living on three continents. He speaks English, German, Turkish and Japanese.