Plex, a free streaming media service, raised $40 million in new capital as part of a fundraising venture with investors.
The investment comes from Plex’s Series C investors, Intercap and Kleiner Perkins, and will help fund Plex while it moves toward profitability, according to TechCrunch. The platform expects to become profitable by the end of this year, or in early 2025.
Plex was not immediately available for comment.
This latest round of funding closed earlier this month. Although it did not raise quite as much as the streamer’s last fundraising efforts in April 2021, which netted $50 million, it came close and gained a $40 million investment. The company hasn’t raised outside funds since 2014 and instead worked with existing investors to fuel Plex’s growth.
“We have the most supportive investors of any,” said Plex CEO Keith Valory, according to TechCrunch. “I feel like funding has never been a concern of ours.”
The funds will help Plex evolve its “TV concierge” services, which connects users with free movies and TV series and helps them discover new content through other streaming platforms.
The company began as a software platform consumers could use to organize home media collections and has grown into a multimedia platform. Users can stream free ad-supported series, films, music, and live TV channels or watch their own media collections. Plex users can create a master list of all content they want to watch across any streaming platform, such as Prime Video, Max, and Paramount+, as well as upcoming theatrical releases for free.
The most recent change coming to Plex is social features that let members opt-in to track their views, ratings, and recommendations and share them with friends. Plex will continue to develop this feature further over the year and expand its capabilities to include public pages so consumers can chat about new titles while content owners can participate in conversations surrounding their films and series.
Another new feature, which Plex announced at CES 2024, is a transactional video-on-demand marketplace where members can rent shows and films from studios, including AMC, A24, and Lionsgate.
While millions from investors help keep Plex running, its primary source of revenue stems from ad-supported streaming. Ad revenue grew by 45% in 2023, and the overall business grew by 30%, according to TechCrunch.
“We’re a leader in this market,” said Valory. “And we’re in, at least, the top five, if not higher, in this space, and we feel like we’re doing really, really well.”
Plex tracks users’ streaming behavior across platforms. Valory said the company uses the data it gathers as a focus for future business endeavors.”
“One of the things we’ve already started to prove in 2023 is that we can absolutely monetize some of that data… in a very privacy-friendly way,” said Valory. “There’s no personally identifiable information being used… And arguably, even though our current business is already growing 30-40% per year, that could dwarf in two to three years.”
Plex is a free service available to download from Google Play and Apple App Store, as well as smart TVs like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and AppleTV. The platform boasts 17 million monthly active users. You don’t need to sign up to use Plex, but creating a free account lets you create a watchlist and use the social features.
The service also offers a Plex Pass, which lets you customize settings and offers additional organizational features but still shows ads with content. A Plex Pass costs $4.99 a month or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription.