BoxCast raises $20 million in Series A funding, could double employee count within a year

BoxCast is shaping up to be another Cleveland success story. In many respects, it already is. The Cleveland company, which delivers high-definition streaming services, has raised $20 million in Series A funding. The fundraising round follows a 2019 acquisition of Sunday Streams, a Florida company with a clientele that allowed BoxCast to strengthen its position in one key category — churches.

BoxCast, though, has a wide array of customers, from sports teams and organizations to local government groups.

And the pandemic, not surprisingly, has increased the need for its live-streaming services.

This year has been a “watershed moment” for the company, BoxCast co-founder and CEO Gordon Daily told TechCrunch. The company now streams millions of events per year, Daily said, and it’s had “a 10x increase” in usage during peak times of the pandemic.

An example of the unique uses for its services during a period in which few people are meeting in person: Sri Lanka’s tourism board streamed sessions last month that showcased the island’s wildlife. The organization said the campaign generated more than 22 million impressions and 1.7 million video views.

Locally, the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival partnered with BoxCast to offer five days of access to the 101 documentary films that were selected for its October event.

Prior to the pandemic, BoxCast had fewer than 40 employees. Now, the company has 56 and is expecting to double its headcount in the next year, chief operating officer Sam Brenner told TechCrunch.

BoxCast outgrew its offices at Burke Lakefront Airport, which it had occupied for four years before moving at the start of 2018. The company has since been located at 2401 West Superior Viaduct, a three-story office building that is within walking distance of the West Bank of the Flats.

BoxCast leases the space, and it’s planning on staying put “at least for the near future,” Brenner told Crain’s.

“We’re definitely not leaving Cleveland, and we love the Ohio City area,” Brenner added.

BoxCast is hoping its employees will return to the office at some point in 2021, but the company, Brenner said, expects that the vast majority of its staffers will continue working remotely for at least the next few months.

In-person events should become more common in 2021, but live streaming will continue to be a valuable tool to reach audiences, as well as promote a business or organization, Daily told TechCrunch.

BoxCast’s Series A financing was led by Updata Partners, a software-focused growth equity firm that’s based in Washington, D.C. Shure, an Illinois-based audio equipment manufacturer, also participated in the fundraising round.

“Attracting a sizable investment from a well-known growth equity firm like Updata Partners and a giant company like Shure is not only good for us, but says something about people’s belief in business in our region,” Brenner told Crain’s.

The company said the Series A funds will enable it “to further accelerate product innovation and customer acquisition.”

This article originally appeared in Crain’s Cleveland Business on December 17, 2020.