Fresh Funding

Jeff Bezos Invests in Business Insider to Fund More Henry Blodget Crotch Shots

"Our goal is simple: To become the best digital business publication on the planet."


In a stunning gesture of support for EXCLUSIVE airplane journalism, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is leading a $5 million round in Business Insider, the web property helmed by Henry Blodget. The news comes following a detailed New Yorker profile of Mr. Blodget, who launched Business Insider after being banned from the securities industry for civil securities fraud.

An internal memo published on Business Insider (natch) written by Mr. Blodget says that the company is raising $5 million, with Mr. Bezos chipping in “a significant investment.” The fresh capital brings Business Insider’s total amount raised to $18.3 million.

“This capital will allow us to continue to invest aggressively in many areas of the business, including editorial, tech/product, sales and marketing, subscriptions, and events,” Mr. Blodget wrote. “As we mentioned last night, it will also allow us to expand our office.”

The raise comes at a time when the company is reportedly losing money, though Mr. Blodget has pegged its $3 million loss in 2012 as an “investment.” According to Paid Content:

TBI chairman Kevin Ryan says the company will do $11 million this year (last summer someone told the WSJ the company would do $12 million in 2012); he says the site has only spent $7 million of the $13 million it has raised.

Though Comscore pegs the site’s traffic at 9 million, Blodget tells Auletta that his Google Analytics numbers are at 24 million unique monthly users, many of whom come from outside the U.S.

AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka notes that since the New Yorker profile was published on Monday, BI’s revenue projections jumped–sorry, JUMPED–from $11 million to $15 million.

Mr. Blodget has a history with Amazon. He originally rose to fame in 1998 by accurately predicting a price target of $400 in Amazon stock, which eventually led to his hiring at Merrill Lynch.

The investment will likely increase the number of stated disclosures for BI writers covering Amazon products or services, as well as Mr. Bezos’ other investments. But the editorial side must be accustomed to negotiating that ethical line, as it already counts powerhouses like Marc Andreessen and Allen & Company as investors. And the writers there don’t seem to mind adding another one to the list. “Do you really think I’m going to care what some billionaire thinks about my Kindle whatever review?” tweeted Silicon Alley Insider editor Steve Kovach.

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