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Blend Media raises £1.5m for VR expansion

Damain Collier and Chris Helm

Damian Collier and Chris Helm

London-based 360˚ video specialist and Facebook partner, Blend Media, has raised £1.5 million (€1.7 million) in a third round of funding.

The company, which has partnered with Facebook earlier this year to bring more immersive video content to the social platform, said it will use the cash to further develop its platform and expand its technical, sales and marketing teams.

New investment came from UK growth investor Hambro Perks and New York-based I2BF Global Ventures, while return backers included ITN Productions managing director, Mark Browning, and partner at M&A advisory firm Clarity, Paul Cooper.

The new funding takes Blend Media’s total investment to date to 2.6 million and will help the firm’s stated aim of supporting the use of 360˚ video and virtual reality content for next generation story-telling.

“We remove the friction of creating and using 360˚ video or virtual reality,” said Blend Media founder and CEO, Damian Collier.

“We’ve built self-serve tools that enable marketers to create immersive video campaigns as simply as if they were using an email marketing package and publish them anywhere, including in any web browser. It’s exciting to see the huge array of innovative work that’s being produced.”

Hambro Perks’ CEO of media tech, Kate Burns, said: “Blend Media stands out in the VR world because it is actively building a content market that’s real today, while also looking to the future. It already works with some of the best-known brands in the world and its creation and publishing tools will truly democratise 360˚ video.”

Blend Media launched earlier this year with support from a host of prominent media executives. The firm was set up by Viral Spiral founder Damian Collier, who sold his video management consultancy to Rightster in 2014. His co-founder and COO, Chris Helm was formerly finance director of Sony Music and EMI Music Publishing.

Among the firm’s initial investors, who did not contribute in the latest funding round, are LADBible Group co-founder and CEO Alex Solomou, and Maker Studios co-founder and former president Ben Donovan.

Blend Media’s customers include Google, Framestore, Orange Mobile, McCann, LADBible Group and Volvo.