Internet publisher Cheezburger received $30 million in funding. Foundry Group of Boulder, Colo., led the investment with Madrona Venture Group, Avalon Ventures, and SoftBank Capital. Cheezburger plans to use the capital to hire more employees and fund other marketing and growth initiatives. Cheezburger is expanding its board to include Foundry Group’s Brad Feld , Madrona Venture’s Greg Gottesman and Avalon Ventures’ Rich Levandov.
Cheezburger (www.cheezburger.com), the Internet publisher best known for LOLcats, FAILS, and other funny memes, today announced it has received $30 million in funding. Foundry Group, the venture capitalists behind several fast-growing startups such as Zynga and Topspin, led the investment with Madrona Venture Group, Avalon Ventures, and SoftBank Capital. Cheezburger will use the additional capital to hire more employees and fund other marketing and growth initiatives for the Internet media publisher, which includes popular websites such as I Can Has Cheezburger?, FAIL Blog, Memebase, and The Daily What. In conjunction with the financing, Cheezburger is expanding its board to include Brad Feld of Foundry Group, Greg Gottesman of Madrona Venture Group, and Rich Levandov of Avalon Ventures.
“In just over three years, Ben Huh and his team have amassed a treasure trove of websites that mainstream consumers love,” said Brad Feld, managing director of Foundry Group. “Already challenging the online traffic of traditional media companies, Cheezburger has an opportunity to surpass the industry heavyweights to become the world’s largest humor network. I look forward to being on the board and part of their success.”
Cheezburger was founded in September 2007 by Ben Huh, a former journalist turned dot com entrepreneur with a knack for nailing popular zeitgeist and has been credited with bringing Internet memes to the mainstream and popularizing Internet culture. Cheezburger counts a passionate fan base of 16.5 million people who upload more than 500,000 pictures and videos as well as view 375 million pages and 110 million videos each month. The company has been profitable since its inception with revenue from three sources — advertising, traditional media publishing including books, and merchandising.
“I have been a rabid fan of Ben and the Cheezburger team for years. It’s incredible what they’ve built with a small, dedicated team,” said Greg Gottesman, managing director of Madrona Venture Group. “As an investor, this one is as fun as it gets. We’re working with a great team, helping them grow an already massive audience, and testing new and exciting ways to monetize the funniest collection of sites on the Internet.”
“Cheezburger has an amazing ability to always be at the intersection of Internet, society, and culture — which is highly attractive not just to consumers, but increasingly important as brands look to engage consumers with content and advertising,” said Rich Levandov, managing director of Avalon Ventures. “They’ve cracked the online media nut and the new financing will further accelerate the company’s aggressive growth strategy.”
About Foundry Group
Foundry Group is a venture capital firm focused on investing in early-stage information technology, Internet, and software startups. In addition to providing the necessary venture capital to get a company up and running, Foundry Group is committed to leveraging their experience in starting and growing companies, expertise in the technology industry, and network of relationships to help great entrepreneurs turn great ideas into great companies. Foundry Group is based in Boulder, Colorado, and invests in companies located across the United States. For more information, visit www.foundrygroup.com.
About Madrona Venture Group
Madrona Venture Group is a Pacific Northwest-based investment firm with a focus on venture capital and private equity investments in early-stage information technology companies in sectors including Consumer Internet, Commercial Software and Services, Digital Media and Advertising, Networking and Infrastructure, and Wireless. Investors include large endowments, foundations, government entities, strategic corporations, and high net-worth individuals. The firm has over $650 million in assets under management.
About Avalon Ventures
Avalon Ventures is a San Diego and Cambridge, MA-based venture capital fund focusing on seed and early stage companies in life sciences, wireless communications, web services and digital media. Avalon invests in companies across the United States. For more information, visit www.avalon-ventures.com.
About SoftBank Capital
SoftBank Capital is an independent venture capital firm focused on businesses addressing ubiquitous, social computing. The firm addresses opportunities that deliver socially-driven content, services and applications across platforms and devices. SoftBank Capital offers entrepreneurs valuable experience and resources, including its close association with SoftBank Corp. in Japan. The firm’s historical investments include Associated Content, Buddy Media, Danger, E*TRADE, GeoCities, GSI Commerce, Huffington Post, WebMD, and Yahoo!. SoftBank Capital has offices in Newton, MA, New York City and Buffalo, NY. For more information, visit www.softbank.com.
Cheezburger is one of the largest online humor publishers in the world where more than 16.5 million people come every month to get their 5-minutes of happiness. With over 375 million page views and 110 million video views per month, the company is behind popular sites such as I Can Has Cheezburger?, FAIL Blog, Memebase, and The Daily What.
Cheezburger, I Can Has Cheezburger?, FAIL Blog, Memebase, The Daily What and their respective logos are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of Cheezburger, Inc. Other products and company names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.
Deanna Leung Madden
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