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AgileTV – Profile

May 19, 2005

HQ: Menlo Park, CA
Founded: April 2000
Management: Paul Cook is Chairman and CEO. Prior to founding AgileTV, he served as chairman of the board of SRI International and chairman of the board of the Sarnoff Corporation (formerly RCA Labs), SRI’s wholly owned subsidiary. He was also the chairman of Nuance, a speech technology company. In 1957 (yes, 1957!!) Cook founded Raychem Corporation, where he was CEO for 33 years and the company to one billion dollars in annual sales.
Investors: Recently raised $22 million Series B from Valence Capital Management LC, which led the round. Insight Communications and Lauder Partners also participated.
Business Model: The company is developing a television remote control that uses speech recognition. A TV-watcher can use voice commands to search through broadcast television, program guides, On-Demand listings, and DVR content. The serivce, called Promptu, uses a database exceeding more than 100,000 phrases. No more scrolling through those snail-like program guides to find out when the O.C. is on.
Competitors: We’re not aware of any companies developing this specific technology, but we suspect some of the cable operators have looked at doing this.
Dirt: You know those start-ups that are hatched as the result of business school competitions? AgileTV feels like the opposite; a company that was hatched by a bunch of retirees on a Scottsdale golf course. This management team has some serious combined experience. We actually think this is a pretty intriguing idea – but why has it been in tests for two years now? We know the cable operators move pretty slowly, but two years? This doesn’t strike us as particularly “agile” deployment, but then again, good things come to those who wait.

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