BuzzFeed, a media company focused on delivering reporting, and viral content across subject areas, has raised USD 50 million at a valuation of USD 850 million, reports The New York Times. The investment was led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. As part of the investment, Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, is expected to join the company’s board.
According to Smith during an interview with the New York Times, its new funds will be used to introducing new content sections, creating an in-house incubator for new technology and be used for acquisitions. The major portion of this money will go toward BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, the company’s Los Angeles-based video arm.
“I believe the future of BuzzFeed — and the media industry more generally — will only get brighter as the number of people with internet-connected smartphones grows, and the internet solidifies its place as the central communication medium of our time,” wrote Chris Dixon on his Blog.
“BuzzFeed started out focusing on lightweight content like memes, lists, funny photos, etc.” said Dixon. “The company has since moved steadily up market and now has an editorial staff of over 200 people covering a wide range of topics – politics, sports, business, entertainment, travel, etc – and plans to invest significantly more in high-quality content in the coming years.”
Launched in 2008, as a venture of Co-Founders Jonah Peretti and John Johnson. Recently, it had raised USD 3.5 million in Series A, USD 8 million in Series B, USD 15.5 million in Series C, USD 19.3 million in Series D. The latest round brings the total capital of the company to date is USD 96.3 million. The company is also backed by investors such as SoftBank Capital, NEA, Lerer Ventures, RRE Ventures, Hearst Ventures, and SV Angel, but they didn’t participate in this round.
The company also plans a expansion into international markets and expected to open offices in Japan, Germany, Mexico and India this year.
Mashable says: “Tonight I’m tickled pink to be able to talk about our new investment in Buzzfeed!” wrote Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen on Twitter, just before launching into one of his now familiar tweetstorms detailing the reasoning behind the investment.
“We think the opportunity in front of [CEO Jonah Peretti], [Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith], [EVP of Video Ze Frank], and their colleagues is effectively unbounded,” wrote Andreessen. “We are very excited to work with everyone at Buzzfeed to help them realize their dreams of a profoundly important new media institution.”
Hollywoodreporter says: BuzzFeed has put a premium on video in recent years, establishing a beachhead in Los Angeles and presenting its strategy in front of advertisers at the Digital Content NewFronts.
BuzzFeed Motion Pictures will produce everything from six-second videos to long-form episodic series to feature-length films. The company will look to work with Hollywood studios in addition to independently distributing the content on BuzzFeed, YouTube and other digital platforms.
More from NY Times: “As we grow, how can we maintain a culture that can still be entrepreneurial?” said Jonah Peretti, the company’s co-founder and chief executive. “What if a Hollywood studio or a news organization was run like a start-up?”
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