What do the New York Times, Red Bull, RTL and Pro7 have in common? They all rely on the Carinthian know-how of Bitmovin when it comes to playing their videos on the Internet.
Carinthian solution for a ‘steady stream’
In the past, people angered at the TV antenna and got annoyed when the screen showed fuzzy pictures or went into a blackout. In times of broadband Internet and high-tech devices, we expect more and more: top reception, 3D images, virtual reality, perfect "buffering" and high-performance when playing videos on the Internet. In this area, a Carinthian start-up Bitmovin is helping global companies with its know-how since 2013. "Bitmovin provides the world's most powerful products for highly efficient provisioning and streaming of multimedia data through cost-effective Internet infrastructure," says CEO Christopher Müller. In layman's terms: If you start a video online on your computer, tablet or smartphone, it will be loaded quickly, played without pauses and with consistent quality. Bitmovin’s solution is present in one hundred countries. "In any case, our end customers are located all over the world," emphasizes Müller.
Support from local startup ecosystem and a trip to America
Together with his study friend Stefan Lederer, the computer scientist worked on the development of the current video standard in university, the then first player for adaptive streaming on the Internet. "We blogged about our results and had many prospects." This led to the idea for Bitmovin and numerous patents for the IT sector. Together with their university professor Christian Timmerer, the help of build! Founder center and many start-up grants they started the project. "Carinthia is great! There is not that much support from the state or federal government in America." The flow of venture capital, by contrast, is much lower in Carinthia. Nevertheless, the young IT experts are familiar with investments. Since its foundation, Bitmovin has received 16 million dollars in multiple rounds of financing. We were able to increase or even quadruple sales from one year to the next," says Müller. The Carinthian entrepreneurs also secured a place in the renowned incubator programme Y-Combinator in San Francisco. Rings a bell? It’s the incubator programme that gave us successful startups such as Dropbox and Airbnb.
International business with locally based development
Growth is the word and apparently the biggest driver for Müller and Lederer. "Growth and development make it happen. Without it, the company would not be fun anymore. There is no leading company in the video area. That would be a goal. But even then we could continue to grow in other directions," says Müller. The three-man team has become an internationally operating company within a few years. Humble beginnings in a small office in Klagenfurt quickly grew to 60 employees, who work in offices in Vienna, Hong Kong, New York, Palo Alto, São Paulo, Amsterdam, Seattle, Chicago, and Klagenfurt. Müller understands, that in order "to serve the markets better and to be able to respond to cultural peculiarities, we try to be everywhere locally. Meanwhile the development happens mainly in Klagenfurt and Vienna." The sails are open for further growth. "Next year, we want to hire an additional 60 people. To date, we have doubled our number of employees annually. But then we’ll really need a bigger office soon," says the 32-year-old. Finding the right experts who fit into the team is not easy for Bitmovin. "Many employees don’t come from Carinthia, and the city does not offer them much. An international school in Klagenfurt would be a start. The infrastructure must be right." Müller also sees other international companies not as competitors, but rather as an incentive for specialists to stay. "International companies generate a stream of skilled workers."
Foto: © PETER JUST Christopher Müller and Stefan Lederer are the minds behind Bitmovin's software.