Digital Dealmakers: Keith Kocho

Feb 12, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The player: Keith Kocho, founder of Extend Media, based in Newton, Mass.

The play: Extend Media makes software that TV networks and retailers use to create online stores to distribute TV shows, movies and other video. “We build the software platforms that we sell to anyone who is threatened by Apple or Google,” Mr. Kocho said. That includes companies such as Wal-Mart, which last week launched its new online store featuring movies and TV shows for digital download, powered by Extend. The company is also the fuel behind Showtime’s new download-to-own store for its TV programming.

The pitch: Extend doesn’t offer templates, but rather uses its software as the engine for new entrants to create, manage and monetize video on the Internet. “It’s probably appropriate to characterize us as an arms dealer. We build iTunes-like services for everyone’s brother. We do digital storefronts,” he said.

The competition: Extend Media squares off regularly against companies such as Maven Networks, The Platform and Entriq, which also provide software to big media companies.

The money guys: Extend Media landed $11 million in venture funding last year from Atlas Venture and Venrock Associates. Prior to that, Mr. Kocho funded payroll from his mortgage. He won’t disclose financials or a time frame for reaching profitability but did say revenues have grown dramatically in the past year.

Pros: The market opportunity for online video is huge. Audience measurement firm Comscore said Internet users initiate nearly 7 billion video streams per month. Research firm eMarketer predicts that online video ad spending will grow 89 percent this year to $775 million, up from $410 million last year.

Cons: “One of the challenges is explaining to people what Extend does,” Mr. Kocho said. “There is a lot of clutter in the market.”

The backstory: Mr. Kocho founded the company in 1991 in Toronto as a professional services firm for the nascent interactive television market and then switched gears to create software starting in 2001. “We went through a period of retrenchment and transitioning it into a product company,” he said. “We had the opportunity in 2000 to shutter this thing and let’s call it a bust. I didn’t want to see us lose everything we have invested from an IP standpoint … we drove the company as close to the edge as we could and built this product as a bet-the-farm play.”

Who knew: Mr. Kocho was born in Oshawa, Ontario. He earned a degree in radio and television arts from Ryerson University in Toronto. He is married and lives in Needham, Mass., with his three young children. Mr. Kocho, 38, said he is a recovering fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and is learning to cope with the omnipresence of the Red Sox and Patriots after his recent move to Boston.