FORTUNE -- Chet Kanojia's controversial startup Aereo has been described a number of ways: disruptive, innovative, and possibly illegal. But for Kanojia, CEO, what he and his New York City-based team are doing is perfectly legitimate.
"Consumers have already paid for this," Kanojia told Fortune onstage at this year's Brainstorm Tech conference. What Aereo's 2,000 users in New York, Boston, and Atlanta are paying $8-plus a month for is the technology to pick up, stream, and record network television programming over the Internet. What they're not paying for is the content itself. "People don't want channels anymore -- they want shows," argues Kanojia. And Aereo enables this new consumer behavior.
It's a model that appeals to Aereo's early users and backers that include IAC (IACI) CEO Barry Diller and SV Angel. But because the company relies on antennas and therefore doesn't have to pay the retransmission fees distributors must pay broadcasters like Fox and PBS, many of those same broadcasters argue the startup's actions amount to copyright infringement. So far, the Court of Appeals disagrees and as recently as last week, sided with Aereo.
For Kanojia, that means full-stream ahead. He wants to expand to 13-plus more cities in the coming weeks and a total of 22 within three months. Even longer-term, Kanojia predicted that one in four people could become subscribers within seven years. That's extremely ambitious for the nascent company, and even Kanojia admitted Aereo might not meet his short-term expansion plans. And with the law on his side -- at least so far -- Aereo remains confident. Said Kanojia: "Do consumers want the service? Absolutely."
The prolific angel investor has rarely met an Internet startup he didn't like. When it comes to picking the next big thing, there's a right way and a wrong way. And then there's the Conway.
FORTUNE -- The rooftop deck of Ron Conway's San Francisco apartment building is packed with a random and seemingly incongruous assortment of tech A-listers, celebrities, and sports stars snacking on hors d'oeuvres and sipping fine wines. MOREMiguel Helft, senior writer - Feb 10, 2012 5:00 AM ET
At TechCrunch Disrupt in New York today, super-angels Ron Conway and David Lee say the younger you are, the more likely your start-up will take off.
FORTUNE -- Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room; Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Google's (GOOG) Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded their respective companies in their twenties. All of them were young when they got their start, and that's not a coincidence according MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - May 23, 2011 6:02 PM ET
The group texting app is cool, but even the founders know it's less about the SMS and more about the power of groups.
By Daniel Roberts, reporter
If you've ever wanted to text a group of people all at once, you suddenly have a host of services to choose from. Apps that allow you to create a text message group have erupted in recent months, and venture capitalists have taken careful note MOREJan 20, 2011 2:31 PM ET
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