It’s only been a few months since May when Tiger Global led a round purchasing about $50M of Automattic stock from existing shareholders, but they are back and have led a $75M purchase of Automattic stock, this time entirely from our early investor Polaris. (There were a few individuals in the first round, and ICONIQ joined investing in this round.)
Until now Polaris had been Automattic’s largest investor, and second largest shareholder. Mike Hirshland wrote the biggest checks in our 2006 and 2008 rounds (the only primary capital Automattic has raised) and served on our board until 2011 when he left the firm and we were lucky to be joined by Dave Barrett. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of spending time and getting great feedback from a number of people associated with the firm including Ryan Spoon, Bob Metcalfe, Steve Arnold, and Alan Spoon. Although they’ll no longer be on the board Polaris will continue to be a major shareholder, retaining about a third of their stake. Now that Automattic has been locked in as a win for their portfolio I hope they’ll continue to be involved for many years to come.
I’m glad to be even more fully aligned with Tiger. I think it says a lot to their excitement in the company that just a few months after joining the family and learning more about the company they significantly increased their stake, and at a significant bump in valuation. Their deep resources, market experience, and long-term outlook make them an ideal partner for the next phase of Automattic and the continued growth of the WordPress ecosystem. What we’re building will take time and it won’t be easy, but things worth doing seldom are.
This news comes in a fun week generally: Scott Berkun’s book about Automattic is out today and getting rave reviews, WordPress.com just passed Yahoo in the US Quantcast rankings (and that doesn’t include custom mapped domains), we’re relaunching Simplenote for iOS 7 and Mac after the Android update last week, WordPress is on the cusp of cracking 20% of websites, we just announced a partnership with Eventbrite, and this Wednesday I’ll be on stage at GigaOM’s Structure Europe conference.
Hopefully I’ll see some of you there, and if you’d like to join in on the mission of democratizing publishing Automattic is hiring.