Buzzfeed raises $19.3M to tell you the 90s were awesome

Social news website has now raised over $46 million

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
January 3, 2013
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Buzzfeed, the social news website that is constantly reminding you just how awesome the 90s were, has gone out and raised a $19.3 million Series D round of financing, it was announced Thursday.

The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from previous investors RRE, Hearst, SoftBank, and Lerer Ventures. In addition, Michael and Kass Lazerow, serial entrepreneurs and co-founders of Buddy Media, joined the round as new investors.

Almost one year ago exactly, Buzzfeed raised $15.5 million from NEA, Lerer Ventures, Hearst Media, Softbank and RRE Ventures. With this latest funding, Buzzfeed has now raised a total of $46.3 million.

The money will be used, Buzzfeed says, to increase its development in mobile, expand to new locations, grow its editoral team, invest in video and other initiatives that the company says will be divulged at a later date.

“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,” Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed Founder and CEO, said in a statement.

New York City-based Buzzfeed was founded in 2008 by Jonah Peretti, the co-founder of the Huffington Post. Buzzfeed has now surpassed the $37 million raised by the Huffington Post before it was purchased by AOL for $315 million in February 2011.

2012 growth

2012 was the year where social networks finally figured out how to optimize mobile and how to generate real revenue from advertising, and Buzzfeed was no exception, as the company saw increases in both areas. 

In December, Buzzfeed passed 40 million unique monthly visitors, with over a third of its traffic coming from mobile. But the real story for Buzzfeed was the advertising. Last year, Buzzfeed's revenue increased by 300%, and the company credits this solely to "content-driven, social advertising."

So how did Buzzfeed increase its revenue so much from one area? By making two key moves in the space in September.

First, on September 13, Buzzfeed acquired Kingfish Labs, a data service that is designed to optimize Facebook advertisements, for an undisclosed amount. Buzzfeed bought the company in order to extend its reach in buying sponsored stories on Facebook. 

Then, on September 19, it was announced that the company had hired Jeff Greenspan, a Communication Designer at Facebook, and former Creative Director at BBDO NY, as its first Chief Creative Officer.

Greenspan and his team now work with top brands, including GE, Virgin Mobile USA, Campbell’s, Microsoft, Pepsi, and leading agencies, such as OMD, Digitas, MEC, The Media Kitchen, Mediastorm, and Horizon in order to create branded content that is distributed across the web, through Facebook Sponsored Stories and Promoted Tweets.

Buzzfeed could not be reached for comment.

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