Mountain View, Calif.-based Blue Jeans Networkannounced this morning that it raked in $25 million in funding for its interoperable videoconferencing technology.
The Series C round was led by New Enterprise Associates and included Accel Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. Blue Jeans has raised $48.5 million to date; it plans to use the new funds for sales, marketing and operations.
The company's attraction is that it will allow users of different videoconferencing services -- think Cisco and Polycom -- talk to each other. That's not normally the case, and it can lead to frustration when companies using different services want to talk to each other.
Web browser access, announced this morning, will certainly help speed up adoption of the startup's service. (They admit as much in the press release: "[It] expands the addressable market to the more than 2.3 billion people who have access to the Internet and a browser.") The company rolled out the feature today in beta for the Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari browsers, promising to allow anyone with a web browser and a camera to get roped into the conversation -- no subscription to the original services needed.
(What they won't promise, however, is that the meeting you'll attend will actually be useful. That's an issue for your boss -- or your shrink.)
The point of all this is to smooth over the wrinkles of videoconferencing by doing away with proprietary services. If you use Pidgin or Adium to converse with friends or colleagues over multiple instant message protocols, it's the same thinking at work here. Why shouldn't those of us using Google's services be able to talk to those using Skype or LifeSize or Vidyo? Or even Cisco Telepresence?
It's a boon for those companies who employ considerable ranks of far-flung freelancers, that's for sure. (The company's clients include Facebook, Match.com, Foursquare, Stanford University and Gawker Media.)
In a way, the consumerization of the enterprise marches on.