Beyond memes: BuzzFeed gets $50-million from Andresseen Horowitz


Venture capital firm Andresseen Horowitz has just announced a US$50-million investment in hugely popular media tech company BuzzFeed, tallying up its total valuation at a massive US$850-million.

“That’s a lot of buck for a lot of memes and listicles,” I hear you say. But there’s a lot more happening behind the scenes of your Facebook news feed, the trendy internet company will have you know.

“The most interesting tech companies aren’t trying to sell software to other companies. They are trying to reshape industries from top to bottom,” renowned investor Chris Dixon from Andresseen Horowitz argues, who’ll also be joining BuzzFeed’s board. Dixon has also lead investments in food supplement Soylent, popular Bitcoin wallet Coinbase, and drone company Airware — a rather grand portfolio.

BuzzFeed has proven to be more than a repository of viral GIFs, vines, puritto cats and dogs that failed. BuzzFeed has risen though from being just a quirky listicle-focused blog, to covering everything from politics to sports, tech, business, food, and tech. For a large part, the magic lies within its attention to tech, and the relationship with it.

According to Dixon, BuzzFeed houses world-class systems for analytics, advertising, and content management. “Internet native formats like lists, tweets, pins, animated GIFs, etc. are treated as equals to older formats like photos, videos, and long form essays. BuzzFeed takes the internet and computer science seriously,” he says.

The media giant is an end-to-end startup, meaning that it’s built with the customer’s full experience in mind argues Dixon. “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,” he says referring to disruptive tech of the internet age.

According to a report a few months ago, the site drives more than 40 million visitors to its domain every month. The research also found that more than 50% of the media company’s content is accessed through mobile devices, while more than 75% is done through social media.

According to the New York Times, the investment will help develop BuzzFeed Distributed — a branch that will be completely dedicated to producing content that lives entirely on other popular platforms, like Tumblr, Instagram or Snapchat.

Dixon says that we’re in the midst of a major technological shift. “We believe BuzzFeed will emerge from this period as a preeminent media company,” he says.



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