One of the most talked-about startups came out of the shadows this week, as The Venice Project revealed itself to the world as Joost. The company invited The Reg to its West End offices for a demonstration and a chat with CEO Fredrik de Wahl.
Joost is an interactive, IP-based TV software system from the people who brought you Kazaa and Skype, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, considerably richer after the $2.6bn purchase of the telephony start-up by eBay.
The parallels with the founders’ earlier projects are hard to miss. Joost is P2P PC software; it’s free to download and use and requires no special hardware; it’s based on proprietary software; and the technology is cooler than the business case.
The most striking similarity, however, is that it challenges incumbents’ delivery systems. What Kazaa did to music distribution and Skype did to telephony, Joost wants to do for TV.