Orb Networks – Profile
HQ: Union City, CA
Management: Joe Costello is a co-founder, board member and investor. He is a superstar tech exec who was CEO of Cadence Design Systems. CEO is James Behrens who was also at Cadence and more recently was CEO of Snaketech, and President of SIS Microelectronics. Orb’s mad scientist is Dr. Luc Julia, co-founder and CTO.
Investors: In October 2004, the company raised $4M from Morgenthaler Ventures in a first round.
Business Model: The company offers a subsciption service to consumers for about $10 per month that wirelessly streams their photos, music, videos, and TV to their cell phone or laptop. The trick is that the software detects bandwidth availability, connects to a media server at home, and starts streaming.
Competitors: D-link MediaLounge, HP Media Hub.
Dirt: Personal media hubs in 2005 seem like the VoIP of 2000. It’s close… but consumers need to be convinced to take the plunge. Orb gets rave reviews for ease-of-use and we get the long-term vision – keep all your media on one machine and retrieve it easily wherever you are. But we don’t follow the current value prop. $20 a month is a lot to pay so that you can listen to your Led Zep album on your cell phone. You can just as easily download the album to your laptop for free, so what gives, we ask? If Orb can raise a big pile of cash and wait this storm out – or sell the technology to someone who can – we will be believers.