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For Andreessen and Horowitz, it's gotta be Qik

August 25, 2008 |  9:00 pm

Qik

Netscape wunderkind Marc Andreessen and longtime business partner Ben Horowitz are teaming up again, this time to invest in Qik, which lets users stream live video from their mobile phone.

Andreessen, co-founder and chairman of social networking site Ning, and Horowitz, vice president and general manager of Hewlett-Packard's business technology organization unit, have made a "significant investment" in the Foster City, Calif., company and will join its board of advisors, which already includes Salesforce.com Chairman and Chief Executive Marc Benioff. The company would not say how much the pair of angel investors ponied up.

The service, which is championed by celebrity technology blogger Robert Scoble, has gained in popularity particularly as it adds new features such as integration with Twitter, YouTube, Mogulus, MySpace, Orkut and Justin.tv. Qik is used by a wide array of users, called Qikkers, including both professional and citizen journalists.

There is even a Twittering Texas congressman (and other members of congress) who broadcasts live images from Capitol Hill using Qik. (He describes himself as a "real-time representative.") Other events captured on Qik include the lighting of the Olympic torch, the Mars landing from the Jet Propulsion Lab control room in Pasadena, sessions from the World Economic Forum in Davos and the pope's travels abroad. C-SPAN is now using Qik as one means of covering the Democratic convention in Denver.

Qik takes a feed from a camera phone and streams the images live and unfiltered over the Internet. The service seems destined for the mainstream even though the quality of the video is still what you would expect from a mobile phone (no high-definition here, folks). Analysts say Qik and its competitors, including Comvu, Flixwagon and Kyte, may be on the verge of turning everyone into mobile broadcasters, transforming yet again how news is disseminated and by whom.

So far Qik seems to have the bigger brand. And now it has some name-brand technology backers to go with it.

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo credit: Qik

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