Anyone that thinks there is no money in news hasn't been following the fortunes of BuzzFeed. Describing itself as a social publisher, BuzzFeed has just announced that it has managed to raise another US$ 20 million to put towards its expansion plans.
We say another US$ 20 million because it has already, in the past, raised over US$ 20 million, bringing the total amount raised to US$ 46 million.
This round of funding was led by venture capitalists NEA, but there was also funding from previous investors like RRE, SoftBank, Lerer and, more significantly, publishing giant Hearst.
BuzzFeed had a pretty good year in 2012, which explains why so many investors are lining up to pump their money into what BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti modestly describes as the next, great media company.
We have the senior management, board, and investors we need to build the next great media company: socially native, tech enabled, with massive scale. We are all focused on that big goal and raised this capital to move even faster,” he said.
In fairness, though, he is entitled to brag just a little bit. In December, he says, BuzzFeed passed 40 million unique monthly visitors, growing largely by the use of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This has seen its revenues grow by three on the back of content driven social advertising so that it now employs 180 people and is looking at employing more.
A year ago, it hired Ben Smith as Editor-in-Chief, who built a team of 70 content editors and producers, while Ze Frank, BuzzFeed's Executive Vice President of Video pushed the company into social video production that boasted titles like True Facts About the Angler Fish or the essential Perfect Guide to Holiday Etiquette and the Angriest Babies in the Whole World. You get the picture.
BuzzFeed, Social Content
However, no matter what you think of the titles, it’s the social content strategy behind them that is really interesting:
We are laser focused on building a media company from the ground up for a world where social is the dominant way people discover and engage with all forms of media. That means reimagining and reinventing editorial, advertising, and publishing technology” said Jon Steinberg, BuzzFeed president said.
BuzzFeed is also on a recruitment drive that has seen it attract Jeff Greenspan from Facebook and BBDO as its first Chief Creative Officer.
BuzzFeed says it will use the capital to push mobile development, expand geographically and build its editorial team.