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Hit iPhone video-app maker Klip nets $8M funding

The company, founded by original Mac team member Alain Rossmann, will use the money on tech infrastructure and international expansion.

Klip, an iPhone video-app maker that launched in September, has scored an $8 million second round of funding, it said today.

Founded by serial entrepreneur and original Macintosh team member Alain Rossmann, Klip makes an app makes it possible to watch online videos almost no matter how bad your wireless Internet connection gets. Using what the company calls "adaptive streaming technology," the app adjusts the quality of the playback every four seconds depending on the strength of the connection.

So instead of giving users the spinning wheel of death, the Klip app will continue to play video unless the wireless signal fades almost entirely.

Another of Klip's selling points is its user interface. You can choose from a number of "klips" to watch and see instant thumbnail-sized previews by simply running your finger across one. Shake your iPhone and you'll see simultaneous previews of all the videos.

Klip's app has been a hit from launch. It hit 100,000 downloads faster than any other app in the iPhone App Store's video category, the company says, and has remained one of the top 25 apps in that group ever since.

The company's latest round was led by Benchmark Capital, which joined Matrix Partners and Rossmann himself as Klip's investors.

In an interview, Rossmann said that the company is likely to use its new financing to build out its technology, and probably to boost its international presence. The app is being heavily used abroad, particularly in many Arab countries, he said. Klip, however, wants to bolster its international community, something that will likely take some investment.

In addition to being on the original Mac team, Rossmann has founded five companies, including Openwave and Vudu. Three of those companies went public, and two of them were eventually acquired.

Rossmann also recently reminisced with Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson about his former boss. The late Apple CEO had been giving a tour of one of Apple's factories to the wife of Francois Mitterand, the president of France, and had brought Rossmann along as a translator. Jobs and Mitterand were not getting along, in part because the president's wife kept asking about the factory workers' conditions. As Isaacson wrote:

Jobs couldn't contain himself. "If she's so interested in their welfare," he said to her translator, "tell her she can come work here anytime." The translator turned pale and said nothing. After a moment, Rossmann stepped in to say, in French, "M. Jobs says he thanks you for your visit and your interest in the factory." Neither Jobs nor Madame Mitterand knew what had happened, Rossmann recalled, but her translator looked very relieved.

Afterward, as he sped his Mercedes down the freeway toward [Apple headquarters], Jobs fumed to Rossmann about Madame Mitterand's attitude. At one point he was going over 100 miles per hour when a policeman stopped him and began writing a ticket. After a few minutes, as the officer scribbled away, Jobs honked [and said] "I'm in a hurry." Amazingly, the officer didn't get mad. He simply finished writing the ticket and warned that if Jobs was caught going over 55 again he would be sent to jail. As soon as the policeman left, Jobs got back on the road and accelerated to 100. "He absolutely believed that the normal rules didn't apply to him," Rossmann marveled.