Philo (formerly Tivli) is an American internet television company currently based in San Francisco, California, that first launched at Harvard University in 2009. Investors in the company include HBO, Facebook co-founder Andrew McCollum, and Mark Cuban. The company and its service is named in honor for one of the pioneering engineers of television, Philo T. Farnsworth.
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Key people||Andrew McCollum (CEO)|
|Services||OTT Internet TV MVPD|
The company was originally founded in 2009 as Tivli by then Harvard seniors Nicholas Krasney and Tuan Ho. It began as an experiment using aluminium foil as a makeshift satellite dish in order to "pick up TV signals and deliver them wirelessly to their laptops via a jerry-rigged server". At its launch, the project was intended to be a way to circumvent the fact that Harvard did not provide cable TV service for its students. When the service was made available to others in 2011, half of the Harvard resident population registered for it within the first few weeks of the offer.
In 2009, Tivli first incubated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Harvard Innovation Lab (iLab) before moving to Harvard Square in 2013. After securing their Series B round, Philo moved again in 2015 to San Francisco, California.
In July 2013, the venture raised a $6.3 million round led by Patrick Chung at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. Among the Series A investors, were Mark Cuban from Radical Investments LP, HBO, and Rho Ventures. The same year the company was rebranded as Philo, from its former name, Tivli.
In June 2015, Philo raised $10 million in a Series B round led by New Enterprise Associates, with joint investment from HBO, Rho Ventures, Xfund, CBC New Media Group, as well as Andrew McCollum. McCollum, a founding member of Facebook, became CEO of the company in 2014. As of September 2015, the service was available in 42 universities.
On November 14, 2017, Philo launched a new OTT streaming television service in the United States. The service is available via TVs, computers, tablets, and phones. The service includes channels from A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery and the legacy Viacom channels now owned by ViacomCBS. Those companies also became joint owners of the service with a combined $25 million investment before this launch.
The service has no local or sports channels. While Philo does not have any of the major news channels, the service offers BBC World News, which is distributed by AMC, and financial news channel, Cheddar.
In February 2020, Google Fiber announced it would only offer new customer options to sign up for streaming services. It backed YouTube TV and fuboTV at the time and now it adds the $20 package of Philo's 61-channel as an option. Adding Philo to the list of Google Fiber could help the virtual MVPD keep its growth streak going. Philo now has nearly 750,000 subscribers and the service said that over the year it has grown by 300%.
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- Philo Adds Hallmark, Hallmark Drama, & Hallmark Movies & Mysteries – The Stremable, 25 October 2018
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- https://cordcuttingreport.com/2020/06/09/philo-adds-epix-starz/ - The Cord Cutting Report, 9 June 2020
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