CRAM Closes $600k First Round Funding


Shoreview-based CRAM Worldwide hit a major milestone last week after completing its initial stage of $600k equity funding, according to co founder and CEO Daren Klum.

“CRAM is the world’s first portable home entertainment system that uses high-capacity hard drives to deliver libraries of content to your home. The CRAM media player gives you hundreds of movies, thousands of songs, entire television series or educational programming like lectures from top Universities. CRAM is the ultimate content experience and the ultimate conduit for digital media to the home or on the go,” says the website copy.

But like many startups, the website just doesn’t do it justice;  there’s no images of the actual device or real specifics of the strategy behind the business. However, having recently seen the new device prototype and software interface it’s exciting to see where CRAM is heading.

“Reaching this goal is right in line with our product prototyping needs in anticipation of an invite only soft launch this January at CES,” says Klum. “From there, we’re looking at releasing CRAM over time,” he explains while elaborating on the details and breaking down the the go to market  in phases.

The current v1 prototype is a media gateway that is smaller than a traditional TV top cable box  and is portable with a swappable hard drive whose contents can be modified. The next major iteration is depicted as delivering the same results from a more compact form factor for the business traveler. The ultimate vision is to embed the secure hardware and delivery system into other devices such as TV’s, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, car audio and others.

“Who doesn’t want all their content on demand wherever they go?  It’s the pinnacle of content delivery enabled by high capacity storage — something that is going down in price by 50% year over year as we see the cost of bandwidth just going up. What’s going to win over time? To me its convenience, cost and portability – CRAM! We’re talking about a multi-billion dollar opportunity here and it’s something that no-one has ever successfully done before. Something CRAM has patented and perfected.”

Beyond the surface of CRAM’s content delivery ambitions, lies another compelling value proposition found in a hardware based security layer.

“Everything is going digital and DRM is a failure as we know it. In partnership with Intel, WindRiver and other brilliand minds, we have successfully reached NIST level 4 security– truly a first of its kind for this type of product. Digital media formats are our passion and go to market, but there are all kinds of industries from medical, military, finance and legal that could benefit from our security,” he suggests.

In addition to this funding milestone, CRAM is narrowing in on the right the executive management team. “There’s great interest and validation happening right now and we have some new heavyweights joining the roster.”

What has since become an over-subscribed first round didn’t come easy, he confesses. “Raising money is hard and it’s even harder in a bad economy. To see CRAM funded during a recession say’s a lot about our resolve, business potential and amazing team. Ultimately, our success came from building a great plan,  getting the right people involved and proving we can do the work.”

“We were told no early and often…but I’ve learned before to never quit and that persistence has paid off. We’ve since found tremendous financial support from the Norris Institute at St.Thomas University and other great local accredited investors.”

The momentum is coincidentally dovetailing with this years Minnesota Cup business plan competition, of which the startup is currently a repeat semi-finalist contender.

“We were still a powerpoint last year when we made it to the semi-finalist round of the high tech division.  Although we didn’t advance at the time, we have come back to deliver on the milestones we set from last years competition. Our hope is that the judges will better recognize CRAM’s potential and remarkable progress this time around.” — Daren Klum, Co-founder and CEO of CRAM Worldwide.