Ustream gets $75 mil for Asia expansion

Softbank backs California live video startup

BEIJING -- Ustream, a California company whose technology allows individual users with a video camera to upload live video to the Web, has secured $75 million in venture funding led by Softbank -- money that it will use to expand in Asia.

Mountain View-based Ustream will use the money, including $20 million from Tokyo-based Softbank, to open offices and invest in technology in Japan, China, Korea and India, according to a company statement.

"Asia offers a significant, untapped market opportunity for streaming video," Ustream founder and CEO John Ham said Monday.

The announcement comes weeks after YouTube owner Google, also of Mountain View, said it was considering pulling out of China, over censorship and cyberattacks.

China is now home to roughly 384 million Web users. The United States as a whole has 305 million citizens.

Ustream, which was started in 2006, had 50 million users in January. More than 1.5 million users have downloaded the company's video streaming app onto their iPhone.

Ustream's platform has been used to broadcast live events over the Internet, such as 3.8 million streams of U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration.

Users may also interact with in real time with the Ustream Social Stream.

According to the company's Web site, the technology's original goal was to aid soldiers posted overseas in staying in touch with their families.

Ustream's backers include Western Technology Investment and the venture capital firm DCM, which led an $11.1 million funding round in 2008. DCM general partner Hurst Lin, was formerly the COO of China's biggest web portal, Sina.com, the first Chinese Web site to list on the Nasdaq.

Ustream could not be reached for comment.
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