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Aviary Inc. obtains $7M venture capital funding

Venture capitalists have given a vote of confidence to a Hewlett software company to the tune of $7 million, according to a new report on financing for the tristate area.

Aviary Inc., in fact, was the only Long Island company to obtain venture capital funding in all of last year, according to the MoneyTree Report, a quarterly study of venture capital investment activity.

"Just knowing that we can focus on growing our business instead of fundraising, that kind of clarity is great," said Avi Muchnick, 30, Aviary's chief executive.

The company, which was founded in 2007, has raised $11 million in venture funding so far. It develops consumer-oriented multimedia tools, including image and audio editing, he said. They allow computer users to upload videos on the Internet or remix music tracks free of charge. The company uses cloud computing, a popular new technology that provides computer access without expensive infrastructure. The name Aviary, a place for keeping birds, equates the freedom of cloud computing with the animals' flights of fancy.

Rob Thomas, lead singer of the rock band Matchbox Twenty, uses the software so his fans can create album covers online and remix his music tracks, Muchnick said. Use of the company's software grew more than 1,000 percent between 2008 and 2009, he said.

Aviary has 16 employees; nine work on Long Island and the rest are based abroad, Muchnick said. He plans to add to his staff as the economy picks up, which he believes is beginning, based on increasing venture capitalists' interest.

In fact, tristate-area companies received $466 million in venture capital funding in the 2009 fourth quarter, up from $330 million in the 2008 fourth quarter, during the economic meltdown.

And the latest number is up from the $251 million companies received in the third quarter of 2009, according to the report, which is compiled by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

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