WordPress lands a whopper

by Mathew on January 22, 2008 · 18 comments

As my friend Om Malik is reporting — and as founder Matt Mullenweg has confirmed on his blog — the company behind WordPress has landed $29-million in financing, including an investment from none other than the New York Times. This sounds like a great deal for an equally great company, one whose products I not only use for this and other blogs, but have recommended to dozens of friends and coworkers as the easiest way to get online, and many of them now use it.

As Om points out, WordPress is not only a blog platform — it has become one of the default publishing platforms for all kinds of online content, including some small newspapers. As CEO Toni Schneider notes, the hosted version of WordPress at WordPress.com has more than 2 million blogs and is now the number 12 site on the Internet in terms of traffic. And yet Matt Mullenweg, who I met when he came to the very first mesh conference in 2006, is as unassuming as can be — someone who just seems fascinated by what tools like WordPress can produce.

Matt and Toni say that the funds will go to build out the company’s server network and to add new features, including (I’m assuming) the recently announced upgrade of storage space on WordPress to 3 gigabytes. It seems clear to me that WordPress is well on its way to becoming something much more than just another blogging engine. Well done, Matt. TechCrunch reported last fall that Automattic turned down a $200-million acquisition offer, and now I can see why.

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  • http://www.mappingtheweb.com Aidan Henry

    Seriously though… $29.5 million to build out the server network and add new features? That’s one helluva B round…

    It seems to me that the company was able to operate pretty lean up until now. I can understand taking on some money to boost the growth curve, but $29.5 million?

    Wouldn’t $10 or $15 million be enough? I also wondering what kind of valuation they got?

    Cheers,
    Aidan
    http://www.MappingTheWeb.com

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Yeah, I’m wondering that too, Aidan. They reportedly turned down a
    $200-million acquisition offer, so I assume it’s higher than that.

  • http://www.dariosalvelli.com Dario Salvelli

    Wow, that’s great for WordPress community. :-)

  • http://www.tomstechblog.com Tom

    I think the whole “building out our network” line is just something you say (not that it isn’t true I just don’t think they’ll be spending the majority of the money on that). WordPress is in a situation now where everyone is starting to take notice of them and I suspect that is making them more than a little nervous. If I were Matt Mullenweg statements like “it has become one of the default publishing platforms for all kinds of online content” would scare the bejeezes out of me because it means people are starting to realize what position his company is in the lead. A position that comes with a big ol’ target for your back.

    I think the storage announcement from earlier this week shows a little of that. They didn’t just want to beat the competition they wanted to beat them by a wide margin so their customers don’t even think to question their platform choice.

    That is what I think the explaination is for the sudden money influx too. WordPress has always been a company that values working lean so I don’t think they’ve gone money crazy overnight. I think this is just the realization that they are in front and that they need to have a war chest on hand to fend off attempts by competitors to take their market share.

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  • http://www.dryfuse.com Sir Dryfuse

    I sure do love wordpress, but this makes me a little bit edgy to think that they might have some swing on any new wordpress releases. I am glad that wordpress has taken off so well, but at the same time I am kind of disgruntled by all the new competition in the blogging community.

    My .2 cents,
    Sir Dryfuse
    http://www.dryfuse.com

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  • http://www.internet-marketing-data.com Internet Marketing Blog

    That's absolutely great! WordPress deserves every penny for designing such a wonderful CMS system that is so flexible and user friendly. Congrats to them, I could use that funding in our company :)

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    wordpress for the iphone makes it easier to work from home or the road not to mention the overtime.

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  • http://www.club-penguin.org/ Club Penguin Cheats

    I am glad that wordpress has taken off so well, but at the same time I am kind of disgruntled by all the new competition in the blogging community.

  • http://www.diapmedia.com/ Internet Media Agency

    They deserve every penny, WordPress is the best CMS out there and keeps getting better…If you notice all the top SEOs use it for their personal blogs, company sites, or ramblings…

  • http://www.diapmedia.com/ Internet Media Agency

    They deserve every penny, WordPress is the best CMS out there and keeps getting better…If you notice all the top SEOs use it for their personal blogs, company sites, or ramblings…

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