Blue Jeans Gets $50M for Cloud-Based Video Conferencing

The company is challenging Cisco, Microsoft and others in the increasingly competitive video conferencing space.

Blue Jeans Network, the four-year-old company that offers cloud-based video conferencing technology, has raised another $50 million in financing, essentially doubling the funding it has received.

Company officials announced Sept. 18 that the latest round of funding was led by Battery Ventures, and includes contributions from previous investors Accel Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Northwest Venture Partners. According to Blue Jeans executives, the funding comes as the company is seeing rapid growth in everything from customers and users to usage, bookings and revenues, and that the growth is coming at the expense of established players like Cisco Systems and Polycom.

The company has more than 2,000 businesses and 3 million participants, all of whom are using more than 100 million minutes every year.

"From the beginning, we focused on making video collaboration about the meeting participant," Krish Ramakrishnan, co-founder and CEO of Blue Jeans Network, said in a statement. "Up until now, traditional methods have been elitist, complex and leave the participant at the mercy of the physical location of the device."

Vendors like Cisco and Polycom have been offering video conferencing and telepresence solutions for years, but video communications has gotten a lot of attention recently, thanks to such trends as greater employee mobility, the explosion of connected mobile devices and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) adoption. The global recession also forced businesses anxious to save money to consider video conferences as a way of cutting travel expenses.

Blue Jeans and a number of other smaller companies, such as Vidyo, are helping steer video conferencing away from expensive room-based systems and toward software and cloud-based solutions, a trend that is having ramifications on the industry. IDC analysts have said that revenues for video conferencing equipment continued to slide—most recently, by 10.7 percent in the second quarter.

"Despite the overall weak 2Q13 results in the worldwide enterprise videoconferencing equipment market, we are still seeing interest in videoconferencing being driven by integrations with vendors' unified communications and collaboration portfolios, and the proliferation of video among desktop and mobile users," Petr Jirovsky, senior research analyst for Worldwide Networking Trackers Research at IDC, said in a statement in August. "Video as a key component of collaboration continues to place high on the list of priorities for many organizations."

Blue Jeans offers a cloud-based conferencing service that enables users to collaborate over video, regardless of where they are, what device they are using or what service (such as Skype, Cisco, Polycom or Microsoft) they're using.

"Blue Jeans set a new standard for SaaS business models with exceptional revenue growth and retention rates that rival companies like Salesforce and Workday at similar stages," Roger Lee, general partner at Battery Ventures, said in a statement. "Now Blue Jeans is redefining the video conferencing and business collaboration markets, expanding the parameters with an eye toward replacing every phone call with a face-to-face Blue Jeans meeting."