Gaurav Dhillon’s Second Act
Posted by g.e. on February 12, 2007
In the world of online movie distribution, Gaurav Dhillon, chief executive of startup Jaman.com, has an edge over a formidable leader, Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes Store. Jaman has 1,000 films available for download, four times as many as iTunes.
Jaman is a second act for Dhillon, who was founder and CEO of Informatica (INFA), a Redwood City (Calif.) software company that launched in 1992. After stepping down in 2004, he took a few years off to look for something new to do. “I had wanted to do something with photography, which is my hobby, but I realized I wasn’t going to change the world with that,” he says.
During that time, he traveled around the world and learned a surprising fact: Some 99% of the movies made globally will never be shown or distributed in the U.S., the biggest movie-watching market. So he teamed with Carlos Montalvo, a former vice-president at Apple, who was also general manager of the Quicktime group, Apple’s video and streaming media software division. He’s raised $4 million from his own Dhillon Capital and additional financing from unnamed “technical luminaries” in technology and entertainment. The company has negotiated the rights for movies from studios including Arc Light Films, a Taiwanese studio, and Celestial Pictures, with headquarters in Hong Kong, and is now looking for a second round of funding.
“There are 56 million people who live in the U.S. but who weren’t born here or who speak another language and who would like to see movies and TV shows from their native countries,” he says.
While in big cities there are often local retailers who import movies from around the world, that’s not always an option elsewhere, says Dhillon, a brain surgeon originally from India now living in Topeka, Kan. His target customer: “He’s got a job he loves and likes where he lives, but he can’t get movies from India at the corner video store,” he says. “This is for someone like him.”