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Akimbo Systems – Profile

October 20, 2004

HQ: Los Angeles and San Mateo, CA
Founded: 2004
Management: Josh Goldman is CEO. He’s a poor man’s Mark Cuban – but not that poor. Goldman sold comparison shopping site MySimon to CNET for $730MM (yes, that’s right, $730MM). The mySimon sale = the apotheosis of Internet absurdity. CNET now runs the business with two engineers and a monkey. Props to Goldman for cashing in on the madness. Rest of management looks pretty seasoned (suits, grey hair, and no hair). We like the fact that VP Robert Hammer once directed a Steve Miller Band video.
Investors: Funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Sprout Group, and Zone Ventures.
Business Model: Premise is to offer a TiVo-like service, delivered via a broadband Internet connection, with no reliance on programming from media conglomerates. Instead, programming comes from diverse independent sources. Think of it as a mechanism that allows you to watch JibJab on your TV, instead of your laptop. Akimbo Player is $229.99. Akimbo Service is $9.99 a month or $199.99 for Product Lifetime Service. Launch is planned for October with 20,000 hours of video from 50 providers of content. Moving into retail outlets some time next year.
Competitors: CinemaNow, Tivo (maybe someday)
Dirt: What’s more important here: the technology or the content? We’d say the latter – and Akimbo still has a long way to go on this front. A recent deal with broadcaster TBS suggests that Akimbo is attracting more mainstream content, but for now the service needs to avoid being pigeon-holed as a purveyor of Internet video oddities. Freaks and geeks are probably just as happy to watch this stuff on their 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays. Killer content area for Akimbo could be smut -After Dark section of the Akimbo service will have our attention… but only for research purposes. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of good technology: competitor CinemaNow just announced it will offer high-def movie downloads. Akimbo will need to keep up.

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