Stealth Startup PLAiR Raises $2.1M to Make Your Media Truly Portable

PLAiR, a startup that’s playing things very close to the chest, announced a new round of seed funding last night totalling $2.1 million. That’s a strong early round, especially for a company that’s not revealing too much through official channels. The funding comes from Elevation Partners‘ Roger McNamee and FLOODGATE, both firms with a history of strong media investment including BioWare, Forbes, Playdom and Revision3. While PLAiR isn’t ready to let the cat out of the bag just yet, co-founder and CEO Saad Hussain shared some information in an interview with BetaKit.

“PLAiR is founded on the basis that people should be able to watch anything, anytime, anywhere,” he said. “We will reveal more details in our upcoming product launch at the end of summer. I wish I could tell you more because I’m really excited, but this announcement is focused solely on funding.”

Asked about existing media streaming services like AirPlay from Apple and the DLNA open standard media sharing protocol, Hussain simply responded that “there is currently no device that frees consumers to watch anything, anytime, anywhere with wide interoperability across consumer devices.”

According to additional details unearthed by TechCrunch, the product is in fact a hardware dongle that plugs into your TV’s USB port (if it has one that’s enabled to play media) and then allows you to beam content from other devices on your local WiFi network, in whatever format is best-suited to your specific brand of TV. There’s a promotional video on Vimeo that provides more information.

For now, PLAiR also isn’t being too specific about what it intends to do with this round of funding. Hussain noted simply that it will be used for “continued development and growth of the company, marketing and the upcoming product launch.” PLAiR sounds like a refinement of other ideas already out there rather than a completely new thing, but Hussain and co-founder Todd Wheeler are both part of the original team that built the wireless tech used in the iPhone, PS3, PSP and many other devices at Marvell Technology Group, so at least PLAiR’s pedigree is promising.

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