Startup Vessel's backers include Jeff Bezos, Benchmark and Greylock Partners
Jason Kilar, the former CEO of Hulu, has announced his next venture: Vessel, a startup building a multimedia service with a strong focus on video, whose investors include Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
The San Francisco-based company is not disclosing the amount of funding raised so far — or, indeed, exactly what Vessel’s business will encompass.
Investors in Vessel include Benchmark, Greylock Partners and Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos. “To have such an amazing group put their faith in us is energizing and humbling,” Kilar, Vessel’s CEO, and chief technology officer Richard Tom said in a statement. Vessel has raised about $75 million, Re/code reported, citing anonymous sources.
Kilar and Tom, who was previously Hulu’s CTO, founded Vessel last year under the code-name the Fremont Project (incorporated as Grand Trunk Labs).
“We’ve been busy building a service whose mission is to delight consumers and content creators alike,” the startup’s founders said. “Though we still have more work to do at Vessel, we want to share this brief update and reach out to the creator community.”
Vessel head of marketing Steve McLendon, a former Netflix exec, declined to elaborate on what kind of service the startup is building, but said it’s reaching out to individual content creators as well as companies. He declined to say how many employees work for the company.
With the funding, Benchmark’s Bill Gurley and Greylock’s David Sze are joining the company’s board, which includes Kilar and Tom.
The startup’s employees have “strong experience building and innovating” with companies like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon, according to Kilar and Tom. “As a team, we are unusually passionate about the intersection of media and technology; we see an opportunity to improve media, particularly next-generation video,” the duo said.
Kilar left Hulu in March 2013 after serving as CEO of the Internet TV joint venture of Disney, NBCUniversal and 21st Century News since July 2007. Before joining Hulu, was senior VP of worldwide application software at Amazon, after originally joining the e-commerce company May 1997 as a product manager.
Last fall, Hulu tapped Mike Hopkins, previously head of distribution for Fox Networks, as CEO.