Meg Whitman Defends Quibi's $1.4 Billion Investment as 'A Big Bet'

With the highly-anticipated launch of the byte sized mobile streaming service Quibi a little more than two months away, CEO Meg Whitman defended the company's massive $1.4 billion fundraising total in front of a roomful of investors and company founders in Pasadena.

"There's no question it's a big bet," she said. "We had to raise enough money to create at launch a completely immersive experience."


Whitman pointed out that Quibi is the first streamer to start without a library, so everything has to be made from scratch. The service will launch April 6th with 50 shows. There are a total of 175 shows planned. "We're actually creating content uniquely shot for the phone, not crammed onto it," she said.

Quibi is offering generous terms to creators, which is why it has been able to attract A-listers like Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon.

"We made it super financially attractive to them," said Whitman. She said Quibi is paying up to $6 million dollars an hour for shows that will be divvied up into episodes that are a few minutes long. In an unusual arrangement, Quibi pays production costs and creators get 20 percent of profits. Most crucially, creators own their own intellectual property after six years.

The Upfront Summit is expected to attract more than 1,200 attendees flocking to the Rose Bowl Jan. 29-30. The invite-only event brings together a diverse mix of entrepreneurs networking with venture players armed with billions of dollars in capital, and headlined by presentations from business leaders including Steve Ballmer, Quibi's Whitman, and Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson.

Links to the conference agenda and the livestream can be found here.

Upfront Ventures holds a non-controlling, minority interest in dot.LA

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The new series will showcase five companies preparing to go public on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Over the course of 10 episodes, viewers will follow the company founders as they promote their offering and receive feedback and advice from mentors, professional investors and other executives. Those watching at home who think they've spotted a winner will have a chance to get in on the action at the initial public offering (IPO) price for the companies that end up going public.

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