Joost, originally dubbed the Venice Project (covered here previously) launched in an invitation-only beta October 2006 and has been slowly expanding its user base by allowing users to distribute more invitations. The investors backing this round of funding, apart from CBS and Viacom, include Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing and Index Ventures. The investors were selected on what they could bring to Joost, claims Joost CEO Fredrik de Wahl.
Joost has avoided copyright problems, affecting so many other online video projects, by signing major deals with content providers (including its now investors, CBS and Viacom). Joost now offers over 150 channels of video, and with this new round of funding coming from the big players, I’d expect that number to increase wildly — not to mention the number of advertisers and the overall quality of programming.