Los Angeles Business Journal

Video Distributor Raises $3 Million

By Natalie Jarvey Thursday, May 9, 2013

Video startup Yekra has raised a $3 million round to further develop its film distribution and marketing tools.

The downtown L.A. company announced the round on Thursday. It was led by Las Vegas angel investor Maurice Gallagher with participation from Bray Capital in London and angel investors Shay O’Brien and Michael Rogers.

Yekra is an online distribution platform where filmmakers set their own price for viewers to stream their films. Filmmakers can choose from four Yekra packages based on how they want their films distributed.

A movie called “Happy,” for example, rents for $3 using Yekra. After a viewer pays, the film can be seen on the “Happy” website for 72 hours. “Tattoo Nation,” a documentary starring musician Travis Barker, costs $7 to rent and stream on Yekra’s website or $20 to buy.

Yekra also offers marketing tools through its AffiliateConnect product, which distributes the films to blogs, online publishers and social networks. Yekra shares revenue from the film rentals and sales with the filmmakers and affiliated publishers.

Yekra works primarily with independent filmmakers who don’t have distribution deals for their movies. But Lee Waterworth, co-founder and president, said the goal is to sign up mainstream films.

“We’ve not got any major studios yet,” he said. “But we’re talking with a lot of independent producers and a lot of distributors are starting to give us their titles too.”

Competition in the online film distribution space includes giants such as Netflix and Hulu. Other startups in the field include Seattle startup IndieFlix, which launched in March to stream films online, and Washington, D.C., company SnagFilms, which streams ad-supported documentaries for free online.

Yekra has 25 employees and an office in Salt Lake City. Waterworth said the company will use the funding to continue technology development, expand its sales and marketing support and introduce more marketing tools for filmmakers.