SOURCE: Tumblr, Inc.
December 11, 2008 06:00 ET
Tumblr Closes Series B Financing Round
Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital Lead Round to Fuel Explosive Growth of Innovative Social Platform; Company Appoints New President
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 11, 2008) - Tumblr, a publishing platform and social
network offering mixed-media blogs that uniquely reflect the author's
interests and that is closing the gap between social networks and online
publishing, announced today that it has closed a Series B round of
financing. Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital led the $4.5 million
John Borthwick, former Senior Vice President of Technology at Time Warner,
and current CEO of Betaworks, will join Tumblr's board that includes David
Karp, Tumbler's founder; Brad Burnham, General Partner of Union Square
Ventures; Bijan Sabet, Partner at Spark Capital; Fred Seibert, Mr. Karp's
mentor, and first Creative Director at MTV Networks and former President of
In conjunction with the financing, the company has added John Maloney as
President. Mr. Maloney is an established new media executive and startup
entrepreneur with 20 years of digital and media experience, including most
recently senior-level positions at CNET Networks and UrbanBaby.com.
Tumblr was founded in 2007 by 22-year-old web entrepreneur David Karp. The
Series B investment enables the company to leverage its tremendous first
year momentum. Traffic has grown 6x in the past year and now reaches over
15 million monthly uniques through more than 500,000 publishers. Tumblr
has rapidly evolved from its initial early adoption in the creative
community to broad-based consumer acceptance in the U.S. and abroad.
"I feel so fortunate to have investors who believe in us, and a growing
worldwide community that is just as excited about this neat thing we're
building as we are," says Mr. Karp. "I'm also beyond thrilled that John
Maloney has come aboard to work with me in nearly the same capacity we
worked together for three years at UrbanBaby. Our skill sets are very
complementary. John's focus on operations and business frees me to lead
product development and scale our platform.
"After running a very lean company, with a core team of three this past
year, this new capital presents some fascinating opportunities to grow the
business and prove a sustainable model. We'll also be giving a considerable
amount of attention to refining Tumblr as a developer platform. It's become
very clear that our community is taking our product much further than we'd
be able to on our own," says Mr. Karp.
Tumblr's Q1 2009 plans include the launch of a premium service that
represents the company's first revenue generation. It will be followed by
a revenue strategy that leverages both Tumblr's publishing platform and
community, while continuing the company's focus on innovation and
Union Square and Spark also led Tumblr's Series A round of $775,000
financing that was joined by Betaworks and individual investors including
Vimeo Founder Jakob Lodwick; Albert Wenger, Former President of Delicious;
and Martin Varsavsky, BioTech entrepreneur.
"We're really impressed with what David has been able to do with Tumblr
this past year, continuing to innovate, roll out new features and grow with
limited capital and a small team," says Union Square Ventures' Brad
Burnham. "This new round of funding -- and new key hires -- should allow
Tumblr to really leverage their unique position in the social media space."
Bijan Sabet, Partner, Spark Capital, adds, "David has the rare combination
of someone with a native view of what web consumers want along with very
strong technical and creative insight. We're excited to expand our
relationship with David and his growing team."
Union Square Ventures (www.unionsquareventures.com) is an early stage
venture capital fund located in New York focusing on IT-enabled services in
the media and marketing, financial services, healthcare and telecom
verticals. They back passionate, experienced entrepreneurs who are focused
on creating highly scalable services and significant value propositions for
their end users. Over the past 17 years, Union Square Ventures has been
directly involved in the development of 40 companies and through its prior
firms, has participated in the launch of over 120 companies.
Spark Capital (www.sparkcapital.com) is a venture fund based in Boston,
Massachusetts. Its investment focus is on the conflux of the media,
entertainment and technology industries. Over the last decade, they have
been instrumental in the development of new markets and market leaders.
Akamai Technologies, CSTV, K12, Qtera, Aether System, Broadbus,
thePlatform, Redstone, MediaSixDegrees and Novatel Wireless are just a few
of the companies backed by the Spark team that includes former executives
of major entertainment, media, and technology companies such as Sony, Time
Warner, Blockbuster, Lionsgate, Apple, and Microsoft.
Since September 2007, New York-based Betaworks (www.betaworks.com) has
invested in 15 of the most notable startups specializing in social
networking and other so-called Web 2.0 technologies, including Covestor
LLC, Iminlikewithyou and Tumblr Inc. Co-founded by John Borthwick and
Andrew Weissman, Betaworks functions neither purely as a venture capital
firm nor as an incubator. Instead of raising money from limited partners,
as VCs do, the firm is structured as an operating company that shareholders
own. Betaworks is itself a tech developer, building "light" Web
applications that might benefit its portfolio companies and catalyze
Tumblr (www.tumblr.com) located in New York, and founded in 2007 by CEO
David Karp, is a publishing platform and social network offering
mixed-media blogs that uniquely reflect the author's interests. These
"tumblelogs" are a variation of blogs that favor short-form, mixed-media
posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging.
Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes,
songs, dialogues, and video. Tumblelogs are often described as providing a
raw connection to their author, rather than their editorial voice. Tumblr
reaches over 15 million monthly unique visitors and is a platform for more
than 500,000 publishers. (Nov. '08).