Elemental takes off with iPad

Elemental takes off with iPad


Elemental's sales took off right after Apple released the iPad last April.

Sam Blackman slaps his iPad down on the conference room table and opens the ABC News app his company powers.

“You pick a video and hit play,” he says, and then watches with eyes wide as a monstrous wave capsizes ships and destroys bridges and homes. “Unbelievable.”

Like everyone else, the 34-year-old CEO of Portland-based Elemental Technologies is transfixed by the devastating footage from Japan. His interest runs even deeper, since his company built the technology that allows us to watch web videos on our schedules, on the screens of our choice.

The demand for instant video and the explosion of the tablet market have propelled Elemental Technologies into rapid expansion mode. Blackman and his team are recruiting video engineers, opening a sales office in London and building partnerships with Intel, Amazon and PBS.

Elemental has raised $14.6 million. It launched in 2006 and took three-and-a-half years to create a core product for video on demand. Next came a product for real-time web streaming. Both address the complications of delivering all types of video to all types of screens. Customers include television networks and cable companies.

Sales took off shortly after Apple released the iPad last April. “For every executive demo I did, I just took the iPad, and that’s what they wanted to see,” says Blackman.

Elemental has grown to 39 employees and while Blackman won’t share revenue numbers, he says they went from six figures in 2008 to seven in 2009 and are expected to reach eight figures by 2012. “People want to watch on demand, when they want,” he says. “[A lot of] that’s going to be powered by Elemental software.”