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Disruptive TV service Aereo raises $34m in Series C round

Graphic taken from Aereo’s website.
Graphic taken from Aereo’s website.

Aereo Inc., an Internet-based service that unnerves major broadcasters by letting subscribers in Greater Boston and other urban areas watch TV broadcasts on such devices as iPhones and iPads, said it has just raised $34 million in Series C financing to support rapid nationwide expansion.

Highland Capital Partners, a venture firm with offices in Cambridge, was among those participating in the round, Aereo said in a press release. Other investors included  IAC, Gordon Crawford, Himalaya Capital Management, and FirstMark Capital. Highland Capital Partners is an existing investor in Aereo.

“Aereo, based in New York City, began offering its service in Boston in May,” Globe tech reporter Hiawatha Bray noted in a July story about local station WCVB-TV filing a lawsuit against Aereo. “The service captures over-the-air TV broadcasts from major networks like CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, as well as from local broadcasters. Aereo relays the broadcasts over the Internet to consumers, who pay between $8 and $12 per month. But unlike cable TV networks, which pay billions to broadcasters in retransmission fees, Aereo does not pay for the right to retransmit the shows.”

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In a statement, Aereo chief executive and founder Chet Kanojia commented on the company’s new funding round.

“Aereo experienced tremendous growth in 2013 and we expect 2014 to be another blockbuster year,” Kanojia said. “Last year at this time, Aereo was launched in only New York City. Today Aereo is available in 10 markets and will grow to 15 by the end of the quarter. In 2013, we also launched our first native app for Android, made improvements to enhance the user experience and more than doubled our employee headcount. Consumers are craving choice and options and as a result, we continue to see explosive growth across all our markets. Aereo has scaled very quickly in 365 days, and this additional funding will allow us to maintain this rapid pace of growth. We are thrilled to have a world-class group of investors who believe innovative, cloud-based technologies, like Aereo, are the future.”

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