Jason Kilar’s Vessel Raises $57.5 Million Led by IVP to Build Out Subscription-Video Service

Vessel logo

Vessel, the subscription-oriented digital video service founded by ex-Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, has raised $57.5 million in Series B funding, led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP).

The new funding brings Vessel, based in San Francisco, to more than $134 million in capital raised to date. Vessel’s Series A investors — Greylock Partners, Benchmark and Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions — also participated in the round.

The startup last month launched its $2.99-per-month service, promising exclusive early access to content from 130-plus partners. Vessel also offers free, ad-supported content — which is not exclusive — from a total of more than 175 creators and media companies.

To earn money from the subscription service, YouTubers and other creators must grant Vessel a minimum 72-hour exclusive window on the content, after which they’re free to distribute it anywhere. Vessel says it will pay content partners 60% of subscription revenue and 70% of ad revenue.

“If you had to back one team to build the world’s most advanced and user-friendly video platform, this would be the team,” IVP general partner Todd Chaffee wrote in a blog post. “Vessel’s founders, Jason Kilar (CEO) and Richard Tom (CTO), are incredibly talented entrepreneurs with a great track record of success.” Chaffee led IVP’s previous investments in Netflix, Twitter and other consumer-oriented tech companies.

Video creators and producers that have signed on to debut videos on Vessel in the three-day exclusive window include “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”; multichannel networks MCNs like Machinima, Tastemade and DanceOn; A+E Networks and Discovery Communications; YouTube creators Rhett & Link, Shane Dawson, Connor Franta and GloZell Green; FailArmy; and Legendary Pictures’ Nerdist Industries.

Vessel’s partners for non-exclusive content (in the free version of the service) include NBCUniversal’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers”; the NBA; Funny or Die; CollegeHumor; BuzzFeed; and Vevo, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.

Vessel plan to use the additional funding to grow the business, to expand headcount (currently about 40 employees), content partnerships and marketing.

“If you’re passionate about video, media and technology, we’re hiring — let’s chat!” Kilar wrote in a blog post announcing the new round of financing, which evidently doubled as a help-wanted ad.

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