How selective is YCombinator

Bitmovin: With a video player from Klagenfurt to Silicon Valley

Bitmovin made it to Silicon Valley in just five years with millions in investments. Your innovative cloud-based video player enables streaming - live or on-demand - without annoying buffering and is already used by major TV and media companies all over the world.


The idea

"By 2021, 82 percent of Internet traffic will be caused by videos," predicts CTO and co-founder Christopher Müller. And so 'Bitmovin' offers complete packages for technology companies: Flexible encoding solutions with which you can compress large amounts of data from high-quality videos and quickly decompress them again.

The 'HTML5 Adaptive Video Player', which runs on all common browsers and devices, and 'Video Analytics' is a customizable background program with which companies can track and analyze the behavior of their customers and thus optimize their offerings. For us end users, this means: Video streaming also works with narrow bandwidths, for example on smartphones, without buffering.

The founders

During their computer science studies at the Alpe-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Christopher Müller and Stefan Lederer researched the development of an international MPEG Dash standard - they developed video players and worked on new, improved video streaming solutions. The two Carinthians quickly noticed that their software was much better than the solutions of large corporations such as Apple or Microsoft, which were also doing research.

There was no longer any buffer in Klagenfurt. And so Müller and Lederer founded 'Bitmovin' in 2013 and made the online video technologies available to companies that are used by YouTube and Netflix today.

Bitmovin founders Christopher Müller and Stefan Lederer. (c) Bitmovin

The success

The start-up's ascent was almost dizzying. In 2014, 'Bitmovin' received funding from AWS (Austria Wirtschaftsservice) and the KWF (Kärntner Wirtschaftsförderungsfonds), and 'Speedinvest' and the Austrian group 'Constantia Industries' also joined.

In 2015, the founders were the first Austrian company to join the American accelerator program 'Y-Combinator' and received $ 10.3 million.

We are now supported by top investors like Atomico as well as industry leaders like the former VP-Engineering of Netflix, the former CTO of Cisco, the founder of Unity3D,

reports the co-founder Christopher Müller, "Our customers include the world's leading media and technology companies, including Ooyala, RTL, Pro7Sat1, Bouygues Telecom, Technicolor, Televisa and Zattoo." 'Bitmovin' currently employs over 60 people in eight countries, of which around 60 percent work in engineering.

“Our employees are certainly the secret of our success. Apart from the fact that they are absolute experts in their fields, everyone contributes an important part to our corporate culture, ”says Müller. Further success factors are the clear focus on 'first tier suppliers' - suppliers who deliver directly to producers of a product or a complex component - as well as constant technical development.


Accelerator 'Y Combinator'

For just six percent of the company's shares, the US venture capitalist provides start-ups with money, advice and contacts for a period of three years in the founding phase. Y-Combinator is highly selective and is therefore maximally successful: The total value of its sponsored companies is estimated at 7.8 billion US dollars, which corresponds to an average value of 45.2 million US dollars per company.

The outlook

This year, too, the Carinthians have big plans: “We want to complete another successful financing round and continue to expand with the fresh money. This means that our number of employees should double to 120.

In addition, we will open offices in London, Berlin and New York. ”In the long term, 'Bitmovin' is to dominate the video sector and become a so-called 'Category Leader' in this field, comparable to 'Cisco' in the 'Networks' or' Salesforce 'for' Sales Automation '.

3 tips for the start-up phase from Christopher Müller

1. As a founder, above all you need a willingness to suffer. In the beginning there is no money, no product market fit, no employees to support you. Even if there are setbacks - and there will be - you should stick with it.
2. Second, you need a willingness to take risks. There will always be people who will tell you that this is not the way to go. You shouldn't let that throw you off track!
3. You should burn for your idea and not block yourself against expert advice.


This article was previously published in Steil-Magazin 05.2018.
Photo credits: (c) Bitmovin