New Funding for Automattic

I’ll start with the big stuff: Automattic is raising $160M, all primary, and it’s the first investment into the company since 2008. This is obviously a lot of money, especially considering everything we’ve done so far has been built on only about $12M of outside capital over the past 8 years. It was also only a year ago I said “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.”

I was wrong, but I didn’t realize it until I took on the CEO role in January. Things were and are going well, but there was an opportunity cost to how we were managing the company toward break-even, and we realized we could invest more into WordPress and our products to grow faster. Also our cash position wasn’t going to be terribly strong especially after a number of infrastructure and product investments this and last year. So part of my 100-day plan as CEO was to figure out what new funding could look like and we found a great set of partners who believe in our vision for how the web should be and how we can scale into the opportunity ahead of us, though it ended up taking 110 days until the first close. (Our other main areas of focus have been improving mobile, a new version of WP.com, and Jetpack.)

This Series C round was led by Deven Parekh of Insight Venture Partners, and included new investors Chris Sacca, Endurance, and a special vehicle True Ventures created to step up their investment, alongside our existing secondary investors from last year, Tiger and Iconiq. (There is a second close soon so this list might change a bit.) There was interest significantly above what we raised, but we focused in on finding the best partners and scaled it back to be the right amount of capital at the right valuation. Deven and Insight share our long term vision and are focused on building an enduring business, one that will thrive for decades to come.

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!

You can read more about the news by Kara and Liz on Recode: WordPress.com Parent Automattic Has Raised $160 Million, Now Valued at $1.16 Billion Post-Money, on Techmeme, and on the Wall Street Journal.

48 thoughts on “New Funding for Automattic

  1. Very cool.

    This is a fact and dilemma that most of us business owners face:

    Things were and are going well, but there was an opportunity cost to how we were managing the company toward break-even, and we realized we could invest more into WordPress and our products to grow faster.

    How do you feel this will change Automattic operations (other than more hiring), or do you anticipate that this funding will fuel growth by leveraging the existing capabilities?

    1. It largely looks like what we’re doing but faster, with more people, across more geographies, and better infrastructure.

  2. Congrats to everyone on the team who helped make it happen. We end users may not always articulate our appreciation for what you do, but we do know and understand the amount of work you put in to make this the best platform today. Thanks!

  3. Money is a good means to a end. Congrats!
    Any chance we’ll see some social media style functionality in future wordpress releases? Would love to move off of facebook and the like and host all my content myself on my own Wordress install. But to do that I need to have friends lists and the ability to create friends groups so I can lock down content for only group A or only group B to see. Something easy where friends don’t have to register for my site first. Some kind of feed page to see all my friends posts would also be nice and a great use of the Admin CP main page.

  4. It’s amazing to see the growth that WordPress had in the past year and it’s undoubtedly among the most popular CMS out there. But I still wonder if one day CMS like WordPress will be able to compete with CMS in the style of Liferay.

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