Raindance.tv, a new online platform for independent film, has said that it has successfully completed its initial fund raising, backed by a dozen private investors.
The business was started 10 months ago to aggregate and distribute independent films to third parties. The plc was incorporated in January 2008 and fund-raising for the EIS company started in April.
'Between existing shareholder commitment and the new fundraising, we're just a bit shy of £500,000 (about $1m) of committed investment,' chairman Chris Auty told ScreenDaily.com.
A beta site has been live this summer and the public launch of raindance.tv is slated for mid-September. The company is also equipped to move into the mobile market.
The company's board is comprised of Chris Auty (chaiman), Andre Burgess (CEO), chartered accountant Keith Greenhalgh, Raindance and BIFA veteran Suzanne Ballantyne and producer Andrew Williams. All of the board directors are also shareholders.
Raindance and BIFA founder Elliot Grove is a special consultant to the board.
Raindance.tv's current catalogue includes 200 shorts and 30 features such as Rahil's Secret, Uprooted, Liberty In Restraint, and The Last Monk. The library will continue to grow ahead of the public launch of Raindance.tv's own platform in September.
Distribution partners include Babelgum, Joost and T-Mobile. Viewers have logged on to Raindance.tv or its branded subsites from 150 countries.
CEO Burgess noted that Raindance.tv and its partners 'had different offerings with different services, ranging from P2P streaming to straight streaming, with some downloads also available.'
'We want to work with independent film and independent minded people,' says Auty. He notes that the indie film ethos is where all the partners are coming from. 'We want to work with films in that Raindance ethos.'
The platform will be tied to the annual Raindance Film Festival and also the British Independent Film Awards. (Raindance.tv has a trademark licensing deal with Raindance Festivals.)
In its initial marketing plan, Raindance.tv said it would generate revenue from advertising, sponsorship, subscriptions to a film-makers network, paid content, e-commerce in areas such as DVD sales, andfuture plans for syndication.
Raindance.tv has a current staff of about 10 people, working across acquisitions, encoding, delivery, finance and new business development.
'This is an exciting moment in the development of the space where cinema meets the web,' said Auty in a statement. 'Raindance.TV is already distributing to ten platforms, and building on that rapidly. With the first tranche of its core funding now placed, the company is on track to launch its destination service in late 2008. Key parts of that service are inspired by the 30,000 loyal fans and subscribers who make up the Raindance community, and we are drawing strongly on that experience in building RDTV.'
Auty is a founding board member of the UK Film Council and previous CEO of The Works Media Group and managing director of Recorded Picture Company.
Burgess, a former agent at United Talent Agency,is also a digital media consultantthrough his own Crucible Mediawho has worked with Working Title, Univeral Pictures, Alliance Atlantis and Aardman Animation.