The recent £50m investment from Andreessen Horowitz into Buzzfeed will give the growing new media venture a “warchest” enabling it to make relevant technology acquisitions in order for the business to “never have to raise money again”, according to new president Greg Coleman.
Speaking to The Drum after an industry briefing in London this week, Coleman – who recently joined Buzzfeed from ad tech company Criteo – said the investment would fuel the company’s plans to expand internationally and allow it to develop its in-house technology capabilities.
“With raising this money, we can become a very large media company and have the capability to do within ourselves,” he said. “It means we may have the opportunity to buy other companies as well.
“We just finalised our deal. It’s about having a warchest, and the company is already very profitable today. We want to do some bold things with geographic expansion, and continue investment into technology so that we never have to raise money again.”
Coleman was unspecific about what kinds of companies Buzzfeed would have interest in, but added: “Along the way there are all kinds of interesting companies on the small side with really brilliant technology people that we’re most interested in.”
Addressing the meeting, Coleman reiterated the company’s plan to use its now healthy bank account to fund substantial growth, but said that while the company doesn’t expect any need in “the next few years” to raise further funding, an IPO somewhere down the line may be an option.
“Probably in time, you’d ask how we see ourselves,” he said. “The most logical thing – but we’re not pursuing this right now – would be a public offering, looking at an IPO down the line.
“But right now, with the company being extremely profitable and having this £50m in the bank, we don’t see the need to raise money anytime in the next few years.”
Buzzfeed is currently operating in the US, UK, Australia and Germany, and plans for further expansion will accelerate. The publisher – which shook up the online advertising space by ditching display advertising in favour of shareable native advertising – pulls in 130 million global unique users, 13 million of which come from the UK. It relies on social media to drive 75 per cent of its traffic.