Custos Media Technologies has a rather unique way of combating software piracy: it embeds bitcoin bounties as watermarks within videos and movies.

When the media leaves the intended recipient, it allows creators to track down pirate versions by using a free tool. It might change the face of software piracy in the future, and the startup has just received a massive boost to further its goals.

South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) is helping the company out by providing R5.9 million in funding over the next two years.

“TIA has again shown their commitment to support early-­stage technology businesses in South Africa. The funding agreement will allow Custos to accelerate product development, while simultaneously freeing up resources to spend on bringing the product to the widest possible market,” explained GJ van Rooyen, chief executive officer (CEO) of Custos.

This is the third time that Custos has managed to secure a hefty amount of funding, as it previously received cash injections from Innovus Technology Transfer and the New York-based Digital Currency Group. So far, the company has acquired R12 million in funds.

It is also the second time that TIA has invested with Custos, as it provided R500 000 in seed funding some time back.

“We are fortunate to have raised close to R12m for Custos to date, most of it from local investors. The founding shareholders still own more than 73% of the business, which allows us to apply our available capital to the original vision – keeping creative industries sustainable in an era where almost all distribution channels are becoming digital,” van Rooyen added.

In a media statement, COO Fred Lutz explained what the TIA funds will be used for.

“The TIA deal allows us to immediately grow our team. Their funding specifically supports technical development, and that is where we need to focus now.”

[Image – CC by 2.0/Zach Copley]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.