BuzzFeed receives $50 in latest funding round from Andreessen Horowitz, bumping the entertainment website's value up to $850 million.
Venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz will be investing $50 million in BuzzFeed, beating out the combined amount that the site was able to source in its four previous funding rounds. This will help BuzzFeed in its plans to double revenue to $120 million in 2014, which Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz said is possible given that it is consistently profitable thanks to the more than 150 million visits every month that the site receives.
BuzzFeed started out as more of an entertainment site, producing lightweight content like "listicles." It wasn't a straight-up news site with journalists at the helm so industry observers were easy to dismiss it as "toy." "[But] the company has since moved steadily up market, following the typical path of disruptive technologies. It 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," wrote Dixon in a blog post about the investment.
Marc Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder, also took to Twitter to announce the investment, saying he is "tickled pink" to be talking about the venture capitalist firm's newest investment. "We are very excited to work with everyone at BuzzFeed to help them realize their dreams of a profoundly important new media institution," he adds.
BuzzFeed is reported to be planning to open new offices in Mexico, India, Japan and Germany this year, as well as launch "BuzzFeed Distributed" which focuses on making content for other platforms like Tumblr and Instagram. There are also plans of expanding the site's video unit, now called BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which moved into a 45,000-square-foot property recently in Hollywood.
Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith also said that news coverage will be expanded and a new section will be created called BuzzFeed Life which will include lifestyle-related stories on parenting, food and style. Andreessen Horowitz's investment will also help BuzzFeed create an in-house technology incubator and make acquisitions for the site possible.
Aside from Andreessen Horowitz, BuzzFeed also includes Hearst Interactive Media, RRE, Lerer Ventures and Japan's Softbank in its list of investors. There were earlier reports that The Walt Disney Company showed interest in acquiring BuzzFeed but chose not to pursue the matter when the site sought a price tag of more than $1 billion.