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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos invests in Business Insider

Jeff Bezos

This is interesting. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has invested in US-based business and technology news website Business Insider.

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Business Insider editor-in-chief Henry Blodgett today sent a memo to staff announcing the investment. The memo suggests that the deal had been in the works for some time. While it doesn’t go into exact details about how much it might be worth, it does say that it brings total investment in the company to US$18.3-million.

The money, it seems, will be invested back into Business Insider’s editorial as well as its tech/product, sales and marketing, subscriptions, and events divisions. The company may also use the investment to expand its offices.

Founded by DoubleClick Founder and former CEO Kevin P. Ryan in 2009, Business Insider has around 5.5-million unique visitors a month. Business Insider’s other investors include RRE Ventures and Institutional Venture Partners. Previous backers are venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer.

Find the full memo below.

Team,

I wanted to share the details of the financing we mentioned last night. (Apologies for not being able to share them then–closing these things is an administrative nightmare, and it took a few hours longer than we hoped).

I’m going to post about this shortly after 10am. Please don’t say anything or tweet about it until after the post hits.

Basically, Jeff Bezos is making a significant investment in the company. Our existing investors are also chipping in some more. In total, we’re raising $5 million.

This capital will allow us to continue to invest aggressively in many areas of the business, including editorial, tech/product, sales and marketing, subscriptions, and events. As we mentioned last night, it will also allow us to expand our office.

Jeff’s investment grew out of a dinner he and I had about a year ago. We talked about the business, and he was excited about it. (He sees some parallels with Amazon). A few months later, he expressed an interest in investing. My reaction was basically “Hell, yeah!”

Jeff’s vision, leadership, and philosophy at Amazon have inspired a whole generation of startups and entrepreneurs, including me. Amazon has always focused on customers first, knowing that, if they do a great job at that, everything else will take care of itself. This obsession with customers and long-term focus are the reasons that Amazon has been so successful. And this philosophy is something that we very much want to emulate. (We have two sets of customers, obviously–readers and sponsors. And we’re obsessed with both).

Jeff’s interest, and Business Insider’s extraordinary success over the past year, are due to your efforts on behalf of our readers and our clients. We have improved and grown dramatically, and we were pretty good to begin with.

Our goal is simple: To become the best digital business publication on the planet. We’re making great progress toward that. And this investment will help us get there.
Thank you again for your incredible work over the past year. Here’s to an even better 2013.

Image: Steve Jurvetson (via Wikimedia Commons)

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