Only a year ago Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic opined “Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained”. However, once he sat on the CEO chair in January, he realized his opinions needed some modification. The company behind WordPress.com recently added $160 million to its funds, the investments being led by Deven Parekh from Insight Venture Partners. The first investment was in 2008 of $12 million. Other new investors are Chris Sacca and Endurance. Long time backer True Ventures created a “special vehicle” that would escalate the investments. Existing secondary investors from previous year- Tiger Global Management as well as Iconiq also participated. After this investment, the nine years old company is now valued at $1.6 billion.
Matt recently took over the role of CEO from Toni Schneider who has been his business partner for a long time span. He specifically mentions that he looks forward to put this amount into a numerous things like expanding his team of 240 members, growing the business and leverage the marketing strategies. Previously running as break-even business, Matt voiced in an interview that Automattic will now start “leaning in aggressively to take advantage of opportunity, which we all believe is a big one”.
The fact that competing companies like Weebly and Squarespace have been investing has not gone unnoticed by Matt. He was heard quoting “I believe the web deserves a truly open platform and operating system to do the next generation of content-oriented business on”. Matt wants to make WordPress.com the best publishing platform available. It will have everything an author looks for- great interface, perfect environment for an author coupled with design tools. For all these and much more, Matt considers this funding essential. The company also plans to focus on its mobile products; add to that its e-commerce tools and a brand new version of WordPress.com :
“WordPress is in a market as competitive as it has ever been, especially on the proprietary and closed side. I believe WordPress will win, first and foremost, because of its community — the hundreds of core developers and large commercial companies, the tens of thousands of plugin and theme developers, and the millions of people who build beautiful things with WordPress every day. Automattic is here to support that community and invest the full strength of our resources to making WordPress a better product every day, bringing us closer to our shared mission of democratizing publishing. But a majority of the web isn’t on an open platform yet, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. Back to it!”.
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