(formerly Tivli) is an American internet television
company currently based in San Francisco
, that was first founded at Harvard University
in 2009. Investors in the company include HBO
, 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
, their OTT streaming television
service has approximately 750,000 subscribers.
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. During the period of 2012 to 2014, Christopher Thorpe was brought in as CEO and helped restructure the company and invested a lot in its culture. This helped them be prepared for future funding rounds. 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.
Recent history (2017-present)
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, Inc.
, and the legacy networks of Viacom
(prior to its 2019 reunion
with CBS Corporation
to form ViacomCBS
), all of which also became joint owners of the service with a combined $25 million investment before this launch.
The service is noted to have no local television stations or sports networks, though it does offer news services through BBC World News (which is distributed by AMC) and financial news channel Cheddar.
In October 2018, Philo added Hallmark Channel and its sister channels, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama.
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 added the $20 package of Philo's 61-channel as an option. Adding Philo to the list of Google Fiber was described as a way to help the virtual MVPD "keep its growth streak going". At the time, Philo had 750,000 subscribers and the service said that over the year it had grown by 300%.
In June 2020, Philo added Epix and Starz as premium add-ons, with the on-demand library for each service to be made available.
On March 29, 2021, T-Mobile US announced a partnership with Philo to offer a discount on the service when bundled with its wireless plans.]
* AMC Networks-owned streaming services
* Discovery+, a streaming service owned by Discovery, Inc. that also carries select programming from A&E Networks.
* ViacomCBS-owned streaming services
** Pluto TV
Category:Companies based in San Francisco
Category:Internet television streaming services
Category:American companies established in 2009
Category:Internet properties established in 2009
Category:2009 establishments in Massachusetts