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BuzzFeed is making the transition from meme and list generator to being a real news source
Updated with more information about BuzzFeed's plans
When most of think of BuzzFeed, we immediately go to either cat memes or those Facebook quizzes where they told you which Ninja Turtle and Golden Girls character you were, right? Well, the company wants to be much more than that. I can tell you that I don't really consider a place to get serious news right now, but that is what BuzzFeed's goal is. It wants to be an actual source for real news and journalism.
And now it has more than doubled its total funding to make that happen.
BuzzFeed has raised $50 million in new funding from Andreessen Horowitz, it was revealed in a blog post from Chris Dixon, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, on Sunday. As per the investment, Dixon will also be joining the board of directors at BuzzFeed.
The company had previously raised a total of $46.3 million, most recently picking up a $19.3 million Series D round of financing in January of 2013, led by NEA. Other previous investors include Lerer Ventures, Hearst Media, Softbank and RRE Ventures.
The $50 million round is quite a bit less than the $200 million that the company was previously rumoredto be raising.
In his post, Dixon highlighted BuzzFeed's evolution from meme generator to a real news source, and its potential to be a disruptor in the space.
"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."
At the start, he said, "BuzzFeed started out focusing on lightweight content," which included memes, list and funny photos. But now it has an editorial staff with more than 200 people, which cover such topics as politics, sports, business, entertainment and travel.
Dixon calls BuzzFeed a "full stack startup," or one that offers users a complete, end-to-end product.
"BuzzFeed is a media company in the same sense that Tesla is a car company, Uber is a taxi company, or Netflix is a streaming movie company. We believe we’re in the “deployment” phase of the internet. The foundation has been laid," he wrote. :Tech is now spreading through every industry and every part of the world. The most interesting tech companies aren’t trying to sell software to other companies. They are trying to reshape industries from top to bottom."
New York City-based BuzzFeed was founded in 2008 by Jonah Peretti, the co-founder of the Huffington Post. The site now reaches more than 150 million people every month.
BuzzFeed not only confirmed that funding on Monday, but the company also revealed some other big new: a major new strategy and reorganization for its news and editiorial divisions going forward, as well as a slew of new divisions to build out its content creation.
The company will use the funding to expand the editiorial staff, doubling the foreign desk and tripling the lifestyle team in the immediate future.
The company also announced that will be splitting its editiorial team into the three separate divisions, with a clear deliniation between memes and news, and that it would be creating new divisions for long-form video and off-site content.
(Image source: foliomag.com)
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