The round takes BuzzFeed’s total funding to $96.3m since 2008, with the company reportedly planning to invest more in online video, acquisitions and an in-house incubator for technology startups.
BuzzFeed joins Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Pinterest and Foursquare in Andreessen Horowitz’s portfolio, with general partner Chris Dixon joining the company’s board as part of the round, which values BuzzFeed at $850m.
Dixon announced the investment in a blog post. “Many of today’s great media companies were built on top of emerging technologies. Examples include Time Inc. which was built on color printing, CBS which was built on radio, and Viacom which was built on cable TV,” he wrote.
“We’re presently in the midst of a major technological shift in which, increasingly, news and entertainment are being distributed on social networks and consumed on mobile devices. We believe BuzzFeed will emerge from this period as a preeminent media company.”
Dixon went on to describe BuzzFeed as “a full stack startup”, pointing to its 100-person technology team as well as its 200-strong editorial staff as reasons to invest in a new media company. “Engineers are 1st class citizens,” wrote Dixon.
“Everything is built for mobile devices from the outset. Internet native formats like lists, tweets, pins, animated GIFs, etc. are treated as equals to older formats like photos, videos, and long form essays. BuzzFeed takes the internet and computer science seriously.”
Dixon added that BuzzFeed now attracts more than 150m monthly visitors, is “consistently profitable” and will generate “triple digit millions” of revenues in 2014.
The New York Times has fleshed out the details of what BuzzFeed plans to do with the $50m funding round: “Introducing new content sections, creating an in-house incubator for new technology and potential acquisitions, and putting far more resources toward BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, its Los Angeles-based video arm.”
BuzzFeed’s rapid growth in recent years has been making waves within traditional media companies. It was prominent in the New York Times’ Innovation Report earlier this year – a leaked internal document that criticised the newspaper’s digital strategy.
Meanwhile, a report commissioned by the BBC from Sir Howard Stringer suggested that the BBC could also learn lessons from BuzzFeed’s growth.
“Given Buzzfeed, for example, was only founded in 2006, this raises the question of why the BBC’s global digital reach is not more significant,” wrote Stringer. “While the BBC is the most-tweeted news organisation globally, this doesn’t automatically translate into hits on the website in the same way as BuzzFeed.”
BuzzFeed’s growth has not been without its sticky moments, however: most recently when it sacked one of its most high-profile writers following accusations of plagiarism.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010