Frame.io secured a $50 million round of Series C financing led by Insight Partners, the company said, with plans for growth through new cloud-based motion picture workflow offerings. The funds will also drive investments in security, UX, and “camera-to-cutting-room” technology, Frame.io said.
Itai Tsiddon, the co-founder of app developer Lightricks, will become Frame.io’s newest board member, representing Insight Partners, the company said. The Jerusalem-based Lightricks is behind apps including the selfie editor Facetune and photo-manipulation app Enlight Photofox.
Frame.io said it plans to double the size of its product, design and engineering teams, increasing staff from 110 to 240, while recently named Global SVP of Innovation Michael Cioni will work out of a new Los Angeles office that’s scheduled to serve Hollywood productions starting in 2020.
Company representatives have been walking a fine line between letting the industry know what’s in their vision of expansion and not spilling the beans about specific plans. We asked company co-founder and CEO Emery Wells and Cioni a few questions by email in hopes of shedding a little more light on how they hope to make 2020 a very big year for post-production in the cloud.
StudioDaily: Give me a sense for what $50 million means in the context of Frame.io. How does that compare to what you’ve spent building the company so far?
Emery Wells: Like many entrepreneurs, our team at Frame.io loves being the underdog. When it comes to creating real change in any established industry, it is often easier to do so in the shadows rather than constantly developing in the spotlight. In just five years since myself and co-founder John Traver began building Frame.io, the platform has experienced a journey of rapid expansion, having doubled in size year over year and successfully raising capital from some of the biggest players in the software-as-a-service space. Today, more than 1,000,000 creative professionals have joined the Frame.io platform thanks to investment partners such as FirstMark Capital, Accel, SignalFire, and Shasta Ventures. To date, $82 million in capital has been raised to expand the platform to reach so many professionals and offer an award-winning user experience. This latest raise of $50 million, led by Insight Partners, is perfectly on pace for Frame.io to continue increasing its engineering capacity, expand its global reach, acquire new top talent, pioneer new forms of collaborative workflow, and add a new Los Angeles studio location.
StudioDaily: Frame.io has always been a cloud-based system, though you were limited in part by bandwidth issues circa 2014. What developments since then make this the time to be more aggressive about a cloud-based future?
EW: Necessity being the mother of all inventions means that limitations such as bandwidth forced us to innovate solutions in spite of global network restrictions. By customizing the way Frame.io manages uploads and downloads, we’ve always been able to increase efficiency and decrease delays. The proof of our performance comes from user feedback who consistently rate Frame.io above other top-ranking professional asset transfer platforms. But our new $50 million financial raise is perfectly aligned with the rapid deployment of 5G and satellite internet. We know that a 100x–200x speed increase in network connectivity will change everything about what is possible for media and entertainment professionals. We have already begun investing in tools and technology that will serve growing market segments who will soon be totally reliant on 5G networks.
StudioDaily: Michael Cioni recently came on board, based in L.A., to focus on the motion picture and television industries. What sort of moves are you making in that space? Are you testing new features with select clients (or potential clients)?
Michael Cioni: Both myself and Emery come from extensive post-production backgrounds and believe a solid workflow is truly the source of collaborative efficiency. I have always been a pioneer of new workflows and have successfully innovated and introduced numerous products and processes to the professional motion picture and television industries. Since joining Frame.io, I’ve begun building a new LA-based lab and forming a team of workflow professionals that are focused on deploying new features and functionality within Frame.io that will arm today’s creatives with a tool designed to make global productions more centralized. The features we are creating are based on user feedback as well as anticipating emerging market trends. As globalized productions move further away from content hubs, the importance of real-time collaboration becomes more vital. This is one of the cornerstones of our L.A.-based development roadmap and we’re confident it will play a major role in allowing creatives to work in parallel, regardless of geographic location.
Q: We’ve talked before about Frame.io’s plans, which will involve new hardware partners along with Frame.io development. Are you prepared to talk more specifically about the partners you’re working with, or specific new features you plan to introduce?
MC: Though it will change over time, the post-production industry will still largely be anchored in hardware. So we know that in order to elevate workflow to new levels, there will have to be strong relationships and planning with leaders in the hardware part of our industry. By positioning the cloud to act as more a centerpiece, it changes the relationships of how post-production hardware and software relate to one another. This is leading us into new directions we previously hadn’t thought of, and we are really excited about what new ideas are being born from this approach. Specific announcements about hardware partnerships and our camera-to-cloud roadmap will be revealed later in 2020 as the program matures and trade-show season begins.
StudioDaily: Can you give some indication of what these new developments will mean for existing customers? Will there be a new pricing tier associated with the most significant new features, or will they be available (to some degree) to all Frame.io users?
EW: The vision of the Frame.io leadership team is to become Hollywood’s centralized operating system that equips creators with their content as well as every collaborator. In today’s workflows, the tools required for professionals to collaborate are extremely fragmented and largely decentralized. This $50 million investment allows the Frame.io platform to continue expanding to include more functionality that will streamline workflows in effort to reduce dependence on peripheral tools for isolated tasks. In addition, there are already numerous ground-breaking features in the works that no other collaboration platform has deployed. We expect our roadmap will not only emerge as industry leading, but industry changing.
StudioDaily: What’s the timeframe for deployment of these new workflow options? And when will we learn more?
EW: The team at Frame.io works tirelessly to keep an aggressive pace with feature development and deployment. We don’t solely rely on trade shows to make major announcements or release upgrades throughout the year. Our clients are always hard at work, regardless of the season, and it’s thanks to their feedback and influence that we make releases and announcements all throughout the year … sometimes every two or three days. That’s the pace the industry is coming to expect, and that’s the pace we’re responding with.