It is only eight years old and best-known for collating funny videos of cats and so-called "listicles" of trivia (such as 40 Things That Will Make You Feel Old), but viral internet sensation BuzzFeed was yesterday valued at more than three times as much as the
The website, set up by serial internet entrepreneur
The fresh injection of cash values BuzzFeed - which has expanded to employ 550 staff in
Dixon, who will join BuzzFeed's board as part of the deal, said most established media players dismissed the site as a "toy".
But it has grown into a highly profitable news site that is expected to bring in revenue of more than
Dixon said BuzzFeed had "moved steadily upmarket" and employed more than 200 editorial staff covering politics, sports, business, entertainment and travel, with plans to "invest significantly more in high-quality content in the coming years".
The company is in the process of doubling the size of its foreign desk to 18 staff and is "hiring aggressively" across the rest of the site. BuzzFeed has also recently set up an investigations unit headed up by Pulitzer prizewinner
There have, however, been stumbling blocks: most recently the sacking of one of its most high-profile writers following accusations of plagiarism.
It is also beefing up its video division into BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which it said would "focus on all moving images from a GIF to feature film and everything in between".
Dixon said BuzzFeed, which boasts 150m readers a month on average, was now a "full stack startup" and as much of a media company as "[electric car firm] Tesla is a car company, Uber is a taxi company, or
He said BuzzFeed was interesting because it was as focused on creating disruptive technology as disrupting the media landscape. "BuzzFeed takes the internet and computer science seriously," he said. "Engineers are first-class citizens. Everything is built for mobile devices from the outset.
"Internet native formats like lists, tweets, [Pinterest] pins, animated GIFs, etc are treated as equals to older formats like photos, videos and long-form essays."
BuzzFeed's approach has proved phenomenally popular with young people and users of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest account for more than 75% of the site's traffic. BuzzFeed's writers are rewarded with bonuses not for the number of readers their articles attract but the number of times they are shared online.
"BuzzFeed traffic has grown enormously - it is growing at a rate of 75% year on year and is reaching 30% of the internet audience in the US," he said.
BuzzFeed's young and engaged readers are also the most appealing to advertisers in an increasingly competitive marketplace. "Traditional media companies are already concerned," McCabe said. "There is a period when traditional businesses wrote them off as irrelevant, but then they didn't go away, and it took off. Now they really want to know what it is going on here and understand it."
Recent reports commissioned by the
Peretti, 40, who also co-founded the
"Today we think the time is perfect to grow our company, build our brand and greatly increase the content we are producing so we can be the number one digital media brand."
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