If you don’t surf the Internet with your eyes closed, then chances are you’ve come across an Upworthy video. And if you are part of the Daily Show generation, you were probably SUPER relieved to see a shortish video perfectly articulating a problem you are passionate about that didn’t automatically ask for money. (Because if I donated money to every single thing on the planet I want changed, I would probably implode from the G-force of taking my wallet out so many times.)
Upworthy announced Monday that it has raised $8 million from top tier investors in its second round of funding. Investors include Spark Capital (which was also an early investor in Twitter and Tumblr), Catamount Ventures (which has invested in Plum Organics and Seventh Generation), Uprising, and the Knight Foundation.
Upworthy previously raised a $4 million venture round from NEA, Alexis Ohanian, and Chris Hughes.
The media platform has been on a steep upward trajectory in the 18 months since it launched. In May, the platform exceeded 30 million viewers, up from 10 million just three months earlier. The amount of time each user spends on the site has reached an average of more than six minutes. And subscriber growth passed three million in May. Upworthy’s May traffic topped that of media giants like Hulu.com, People.com, Us Magazine, and NBC Sports.
Upworthy is leading the fray among the “social media for social good” category, which includes the likes of Change.org and Causes.com.
What’s the platform’s secret sauce? Probably the fact that the irresistibly clickable videos are edited to become naturally viral. You can’t NOT click on a video that says “Some facts that would really help next time your uncle wants to talk about welfare fraud.” Yes! I need that because I have that uncle!
The company plans to use the new capital to hire more engineers, editors, audience development experts, product people, and sales staff. It also plans to scale the business and launch new tech.
Additionally, the company plans to add more editorial categories. While the company doesn’t say explicitly which issue areas it plans to add, it did say this: “don’t worry — despite the urging from a number of potential investors (who we didn’t work with), we won’t ever launch a ‘New Reasons For Women To Feel Bad About Their Bodies’ section.” Which leads me to wonder what exactly investors were suggesting…