Comcast VP Fuels Second-Screen Startup

A second-screen app developer with ties to a Comcast executive is talking to sports programmers and leagues about licensing a mobile app that could allow viewers watching both live and recorded content to listen to commentary provided by other fans.

Fansmit LLC is shooting to launch its companion application for smartphones, tablets and connected TVs by fall 2016, CEO and co-founder Andrew Gansler told The Donohue Report last Thursday.

Sherwin
Sherwin

There’s no shortage of startups developing apps for smart TVs. One thing that makes Fansmit stand out is its relationship Jeffrey Sherwin, an advanced advertising technology whizkid who sold This Technology LLC to Comcast in August 2015.

Sherwin, who is currently a vice president at Comcast, is the co-inventor of the Fansmit technology platform, which ties audio and video watermarks for simulcasting alternative commentary to second-screen devices or an audio channel.  And former Comcast software developer Shai Reichert is a technical advisor for Fansmit. 

Andrew Gansler
Gansler

“Fansmit is a multiplatform application that enables fans to announce events from their connected device, synchronize those ‘fansmissions’ with the event, and allow other fans to receive the fansmission of their choice on their preferred device (computer, smartphone, tablet, or connected TV),” Fansmit states in a slide for investors posted on its Web site.

Fanmit filed its patent application in March 2014, more than one year before Comcast acquired This Technology and its dynamic ad-insertion patent portfolio. Fansmit advisor Sherwin is named as an inventor on 11 patents assigned to Comcast’s This Technology, and he also helped write the SCTE 130 dynamic ad-insertion specification.

Gansler said that while Sherwin hasn’t invested capital in Fansmit, he received equity in the company “for his development and contribution of rights to the Fansmit patent.”

Fansmit co-founder, president and chairman Matthew Savare is named as co-inventor on its patent application, titled, “System and method for tying audio and video watermarks of live and recorded events for simulcasting alternative audio commentary to an audio channel or second screen.”

Gansler said Fansmit is “a couple of weeks away” from completing a prototype app, and that it could launch a commercial app within six months.

Fansmit has talked to sports programmers and leagues about licensing its platform for their apps. It has also seen interest from “an entertainment company that has a lot of library content,” Gansler said. 

Fansmit’s advisors include Atul Patel, the co-founder of Optimal.com, a company that “will fundamentally change digital advertising,” according to Patel’s LinkedIn profile.

And advisor David Barnett, a principal at New York-based venture capital firm Marshall Junction Partners, is also providing office space, infrastructure and product planning services to Fansmit, according to a presentation for investors posted on Fansmit’s Web site.