Tech startups in Los Angeles are figuring out ways to help consumers navigate the increasingly fractured world of media consumption.
El Segundo content discovery platform MediaHound officially launched its website and mobile app this week while also announcing a $4.5 million Series A funding round from Beverly Hills’ United Talent Agency and a group of undisclosed private investors. The capital raise brings MediaHound’s outside investment total to $5 million.
The company’s service helps people search for, discover and purchase entertainment content, including TV shows, movies, books, video games and music.
Rather than having to navigate services such as iTunes, Amazon.com and other online retailers separately, MediaHound shows users all the ways they can consume their favorite content, with the company taking a cut of between 5 percent and 15 percent of each sale, depending on the distributor.
In addition to a search function, MediaHound is powered by a proprietary service it calls “The Entertainment Graph,” which recommends content in a feed based on what you and your friends are watching, playing, reading and listening to. Users can also make playlists of their favorite content and share them via various social media platforms.
Each piece of content on MediaHound has its own dedicated page, and the startup also makes money by charging content owners, such as Hollywood studios, for that prime real estate.
“We give them the ability to take control of that page, post ads and release sneak peeks,” said MediaHound founder and Chief Executive Addison McCaleb. “Then we’re also able to provide them with the data and analysis behind that.”
McCaleb founded the company while studying at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and took MediaHound through the USC Viterbi Startup Garage accelerator. Other backers of the accelerator include UTA and Menlo Park venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Meanwhile, Santa Monica’s Vyu Inc. announced last week that it has raised an $825,000 seed funding round led by Dubai’s Jabbar Internet Group to continue developing its social entertainment app for smartphones.
While MediaHound is more interested in connecting consumers directly with the content they’re interested in, Vyu is focusing on the social conversations and hype surrounding the shows themselves, said founder and Chief Executive Ahmed Nassef.
“With Vyu, a user simply begins by choosing a few of her favorite shows and right away she gets an aggregated real-time feed of all the latest news, video clips, images and social chatter about the show that she can in turn easily share with her friends on her social platforms,” Nassef wrote in an email.
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