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Video is hot, everyone is doing it: Panther Express scores $6M to do it; Skype founders do it...

Panther Express, which delivers video and other content over the Internet, has raised $6M, to be announced tomorrow.

Panther Express is another so-called content delivery network, or CDN, company. CDNs let a publisher, for example the New York Times, deliver its online content to customers around the globe by caching content on geographically distributed servers. Akamai dominates the market, and has a nice $5 billion market value. But Akamai charges a lot of cash, and for a reason: "It is very, very fast," concedes Ryan. Now, with video streaming and sharing as hot as it is, there are a bunch of other companies wanting a share of the pie.

Kevin Ryan
Ryan, and his chief technology officer, Dwight Merriman, know how to build fast systems. Merriman was behind DoubleClick, the ad server company that is still the fastest in the industry, says Ryan.

Likewise, Merriman has developed routing technology that makes Panther Express speedier than the rest of the second tier companies populating the market, even if it is not quite as quick as Akamai. For instance, it is faster than Limelight and Mirror Image, Ryan tells us. Better yet, Panther Express is offering "the lowest prices in the market," he notes.

Kevin Ryan doesn't know where to stop. He is already running another venture capital backed company, ShopWiki, a site which last week announced it raised $6.2 million. ShopWiki is a shopping site that relies on readers to contribute buying guides and reviews.

Ryan says he is not stretching himself thin. He has 40 employees, and they are split, working on the two different companies, in the same building, some 30 feet away from each other. He managed 1,500 employees at DoubleClick, as chief executive, for several years.

Panther Express has already scored twenty customers, he says, but declined to name them.

As you know, this VC business is a people one. And so Greylock's Bill Hellman, who backed DoubleClick is also backing Panther Express, and joins their board.

Meanwhile, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the entrepreneurs who created the pioneering Web applications Kazaa and Skype, are working on a new communications venture, according to BusinessWeek. The pair plans to develop software for distributing TV shows and other forms of video over the Web. The company is code-named "The Venice Project."

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