Channel NewsAsia

With fresh investment, BuzzFeed eyes expanded coverage

The social news group BuzzFeed is looking to expand its coverage areas with a fresh infusion of US$50 million in venture capital.

WASHINGTON: The social news group BuzzFeed is looking to expand its coverage areas with a fresh infusion of US$50 million in venture capital.

Andreessen Horowitz, the big Silicon Valley venture group, announced late Sunday (Aug 10) it is investing US$50 million in BuzzFeed and that one of its partners, Chris Dixon, will be joining the company's board. Details of the investment were not disclosed. But the New York Times reported that the deal values BuzzFeed at about US$850 million.

Dixon said on his blog that BuzzFeed is growing into a more serious news organisation following its debut focusing on offbeat and oddball coverage.

"BuzzFeed started out focusing on lightweight content like memes, lists, funny photos, etc," Dixon said. "This led some industry observers to dismiss BuzzFeed as a 'toy’. 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."

Dixon added that 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... The most interesting tech companies aren't trying to sell software to other companies. They are trying to reshape industries from top to bottom."

Shortly after Dixon's announcement, BuzzFeed outlined expansion plans in a series of Twitter messages.

"Here's some news: We're going to be looking to double our incredible foreign desk under @MiriamElder," tweeted BuzzFeed's editor in chief Ben Smith.

"One more big push: We're going to be building out BuzzFeed Life under @IAM486 & @emofly hiring... 25 DIY/Food/Parenting/Style geniuses."

Andreessen Horowitz's Marc Andreessen also touted the merits of BuzzFeed in a series of tweets.

"BuzzFeed has technology at its core. Its 100+ person tech team has created world-class systems... Engineers are first class citizens," he wrote.

"And then on top of its technology core, BuzzFeed's reporting team is now routinely committing breathtaking investigative journalism..."

According to Dixon, "BuzzFeed now reaches over 150 million people per month, is consistently profitable, and will generate triple digit millions in revenues this year."

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia