In practice, content recommendation is difficult to get right (as you’ve probably noticed while scrolling through countless “recommended for you” duds on streaming video providers). There are so many subtleties baked into a good movie or TV show that extend beyond blunt user behavior profiles. Maybe this is why it took an empathically minded French film fan, rather than an engineer, to solve the problem of good recommendation and bring it into the realm of 2.0.

New York–based software company Kaltura recently made headlines when it received a $50 million investment from Goldman Sachs. But it wasn’t Kaltura’s first large backing from an outside investor. Since its founding in 2006, the company has had a total of three big funding rounds totaling $110 million. Why are so many betting big on what appears to be just another video delivery company?

In a world where everyone claims to be a visionary innovator of disruptive technologies, Ray DeRenzo has in fact been there from the beginning. A die-hard San Franciscan and Golden State Warriors fan (before it was cool), DeRenzo came up through mobile, creating SMS solutions with Vodafone (before people knew what a text was) and mobile video with MobiTV (before people could conceive of streaming). 

Engagement is the holy grail in user experience. Product engineers design for it; business owners strive for it; and users naturally want it. In discussions with owners and executives at cable, OTT, search-and-recommendation and video-streaming companies worldwide, Mediander has found universal agreement on the benefits of user engagement. A more emotionally involved customer is more likely to spend money on products and services. The connection between increased engagement and increased transactions seems like common sense.