Remote working has become the new normal but for some professions, having access to the powerful computing systems found at the office is difficult to replicate. Parsec is a platform that allows users to remotely access virtual machines and their powerful PCs from any device without any noticeable latency. The company got its start in gaming, where it was popular with gamers that wanted to play on the go, but since the pandemic, the technology is being used by animators, game developers, engineers, or anyone that needs enhanced processing power remotely. In response, to the increased demand, Parsec has introduced enterprise-level and collaboration functionality that’s being used by companies like EA, Ubisoft, and Square.
AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Benjy Boxer to learn more about the impact the company’s technology has had on working remotely, the company’s expansion plans, and latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $33M since the company’s founding in 2016.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Tell us about the product or service that Parsec offers.
We empower people to connect to their work, games, and friends from anywhere on any device. Our customers access their powerful PCs and VMs through our ultra-low latency interactive streaming technology. Artists, game developers, playtesters, animators, architects, and engineers take precise control over a 60FPS+, 4K stream of their workstations with less than one frame of latency. Parsec also connects millions of people to games on the go and lets them play with friends & family for free by just sharing a link.
I’ve been friends with my Cofounder Chris Dickson for 15 years and always wanted to start a company together. We started the company after investigating the potential of low latency video streaming technology and realizing how (if done well) it could change the way we engage with our favorite games, work from anywhere, and connect with our friends.
How is Parsec different?
We tune our technology to some of the most graphically demanding media out there – video games. Because video games demand so much processing power and have such obvious shortcomings when streamed with lag or latency, we’ve been able to develop a technology that works for just about any creative use case, whether you’re a game developer, an animator, or an engineer.
What market does Parsec target and how big is it?
Parsec for Teams is for any individual trying to work remotely who relies on a powerful workstation or relies on graphically-intensive programs. That includes businesses in game development, broadcast, film, television, post-production, animation, construction and engineering, and more.
What’s your business model?
We offer enterprise-level features and enhancements through our product, Parsec for Teams that’s used by companies like EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Blizzard, as well as leaders in media, entertainment, and engineering. We also have a subscription product for individuals, Parsec Warp, that lets hobbyist or freelance creatives use features like drawing tablet support and dual monitor streaming.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
As a New York company, it’s challenging to communicate just how much the pandemic has changed our lives. We’ve gone from a strong, proximity-based culture to a distributed team. We’ve been lucky to be healthy, and we’re proud that our technology has helped many businesses maintain release schedules, and, more selfishly, many games get released in times for the holidays.
What was the funding process like?
We have been chatting with Martin Casado at a16z for 3 years and Jon Lai more recently. This was built on years of conversations, update calls, and meetings. We always stayed in touch, through our Series A and beyond. When they heard about Parsec for Teams and how we’re helping creators work more flexibly from anywhere, and powering work from anywhere, they wanted to dive deeper.
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What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
This fundraising was based on a relationship that has been growing for nearly three years. The most challenging part was definitely the number of rejections we received until we got to an agreement, and continuing to build upon our relationship without letting frustration get in the way.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The world has seen tremendous growth in gaming during the pandemic. Additionally, research predicts that 20% of work in the future will be done from home. We are hearing stories of how Parsec is helping creatives work from home safely while staying productive. We’re learning that people really value the flexibility work from home provides, whether it’s spending more time with family and being able to skip the commute sometimes. Parsec’s technology and tools allow for this, and a16z believes in that idea. A16z and our team agree that the future of work is very different and more like a hybrid of working from home and working at the office.
The world has seen tremendous growth in gaming during the pandemic. Additionally, research predicts that 20% of work in the future will be done from home. We are hearing stories of how Parsec is helping creatives work from home safely while staying productive. We’re learning that people really value the flexibility work from home provides, whether it’s spending more time with family and being able to skip the commute sometimes.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Continue to provide the absolute best service to our customers with the absolute best products on the market for working remotely. We’ll be investing in customer success, new enhancements to the product, and grow our marketing and sales teams.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
No might mean not right now and not no forever. If you think you have a dream partner to work with, keep putting one foot in front of the other to prove that they were wrong the first time.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are investing in growing our sales and marketing teams (we’re hiring!) as well as building features that better support creation and collaboration through Parsec. We’re also always keeping up with the latest demands of games and players, and are constantly focused on making sure our core technology is the best it can be.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC?
Cote Korean Steakhouse, it’s the team’s absolute favorite spot.