Friday Funding: Fireside Invites You to Stream Together
By: James Flippin · April 28, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes
Around the Fireside
Fireside, an app that bills itself “the first interactive streaming platform that invites you to be part of the show” just raised a $25 million Series A round. The Mark Cuban-backed venture now boasts a post-money valuation of $138 million.
The latest round includes strategic investors like Paris Hilton and has already attracted high-profile creators, including Jay Leno. Dell (DELL) CEO Michael Dell, comedian Craig Kilborn, and Entourage creator Doug Ellin are also part of the build-out.
The funding was confirmed through Fireside’s recent investor update, which also shed light on the app’s interactive streaming technology for smart TVs. Stremium, a platform acquired by Fireside last November, will allow Fireside’s shows to be broadcast to a range of devices, including Amazon Fire TV (AMZN), Roku (ROKU), Apple TV (AAPL), and other smart digital media players.
The app’s primary feature is its interactivity. Similar to an Instagram Live (META) stream, users will be able to watch videos alongside others and react in real-time. Effectively, Fireside takes the experience of a viewing party and makes it virtual.
Fireside has been compared to interactive audio platforms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, but its scope goes beyond those. For one thing, Fireside is primarily focused on video. Plus, shows on the platform can be recorded, saved, and simultaneously broadcast across multiple social media networks.
Best of Both Worlds
Fireside amounts to a bet on the rise of streaming and the so-called creator economy. It’s also a bet that, eventually, they’ll become the same thing.
Unlike Netflix (NFLX) or Disney+ (DIS), the app plans to provide audience engagement tools and monetization features for creators. But, unlike TikTok, Instagram (META), or even YouTube (GOOGL), Fireside content is meant to be watched on the TV.
The company said its goal is to reach profitability this year, then analyze next steps, potentially including international expansion. First, it will have to officially launch — and you’ll know it has when your next fireside family movie night is fully virtual.
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