Funding

Tumblr Raises $85 Million Series E

New York-based blogging platform Tumblr has raised an $85 million round of funding, the company’s fifth funding round overall and their third since April of 2010. In total the company has now banked $125 million in venture backing. According to Jenna Wortham at the New York Times, who broke the story this morning, “the round was led by Greylock Partners and Insight Venture Partners, and the Chernin Group, Richard Branson, Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures and Sequoia Capital also contributed.”

The NYT story makes no mention of the company’s financials, focusing instead on its explosive pageview growth. So far Tumblr has little revenue to speak of, but its investors are not worried. “They will succeed in working through that over the next months and years,” John Lilly, a partner at Greylock Partners, told Reuters, saying that high levels of user engagement led Greylock to make its investment

Tumblr said it is home to 30 million blogs, inspiring 13 billion page-views a month. As Fred Wilson, an Tumblr investor, said last week, the company is now one of the top properties when it comes to users’ attention, ranking among the big boys like Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Tumblr’s user growth is also accelerating, unlike Facebook, which has more or less saturated the U.S. market.

Commenters in the NYT‘s typically sanguine tech section offered some harsh criticism of Tumblr and its new money.

JHL – Boston:
Investors hoping to cash in on the notion that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. $125MM into a company and concept that offers nothing new and continues the self absorption inherent in vanity license plates and self publishing.
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Fletcher Hanks – NYC:

Other than an eventual sale to a larger media-based company, is there a business model here?

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LovelyVelocity – Washington, DC:
I love Tumblr but wish they’d make their designs more customizable and monetizable, too. Tumblr ads?

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