Israeli Startup Boxee Sold to Samsung at a Loss

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Samsung is buying Israeli start-up Boxee for tens of millions of dollars, but for less than the $30 million that was originally invested in the company.

Several weeks ago, Reuters' news site VentureBeat reported that the startup, which develops streaming media devices and services, was looking for a buyer after a failed attempt to find new funding.

At one point, Boxee was considered one of Israel's most promising companies in the field of consumer technology. Its product, the Boxee Box, enabled video streaming and was a market leader several years ago, winning several prizes.

Samsung will keep Boxee's 40 employees on the payroll. Half of those workers are in Israel.

Boxee, founded in 2007, has raised $28.5 million to date in three rounds of fundraising.

Boxee’s latest pivot away from providing open-source software for desktops and TVs was ill-received by its biggest supporters. And its new Boxee TV/Cloud DVR storage service (for recording live programming from HD broadcast signals or cable TV) also wasn’t a huge hit with consumers despite providing apps to access Netflix, Vudu, Spotify and others.

VentureBeat's sources confirmed that Boxee was seeking an acquisition over the last few months but that there wasn’t much interest among potential buyers. Also, there were apparently very few offers, and the final sale was lower than Boxee had hoped.

Boxee attempted to raise another $30 million in funding before deciding to pursue an acquisition.

The Boxee Box, powered by D-Link.Credit: Bloomberg / Haaretz Archive
Avner Ronen, co-founder and chief executive officer of Boxee, in 2010.Credit: Bloomberg

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