When you read about “what’s next” in the online media space, there is much discussion about convergence. How will the many innovative social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn—come together and begin to speak to each other, rather than existing in separate silos as they mostly do now? Likewise, how will the fractured media environment—network TV, online video, gaming, etc.—converge into a single primary stream? And ultimately, how will it all blend into an easily accessible platform?
Thankfully, there are smart people like Avner Ronen pondering these questions. Ronen is the CEO of Boxee, an online portal and aggregator of media, which seems to be at least slightly ahead of the pack in the race to develop a common platform that will facilitate the “holy grail” of cross-functionality.
Boxee recently received $2 million in VC funding from Fred Wilson’s Union Square Ventures (see my earlier post on Wilson), which is an impressive accomplishment in itself given the outrageously tight economy and correspondingly tight funding environment. Avner Ronen speaks candidly in the video below from TheDeal.com about the challenges of securing funding in today’s market, and specifically about the early stage of funding. Ronen describes how “angel” investors may previously have been a realistic resource for that $50,000-200,000 needed to build a concept through the prototype or beta development stages. Now, however, it is important for entrepreneurs to be able to “bootstrap it” through that process without external financing, and show some signs of growth and momentum before funders will be willing to take a risk.
While many designers considering entrepreneurial ventures are playing on a different field than Avner Ronen and Fred Wilson, I think it’s extremely useful for us to be aware of how this process happens on the broader scale as we build our business vision.