Automattic, the company best-known for blog publishing software WordPress, has raked in $29.5 million in Series B funding. Originally reported on several blogs, the funding round was confirmed by Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg in his personal blog Tuesday evening.
The most notable of the investors is the New York Times Co., which joins existing Automattic investors Polaris Ventures, True Ventures, and Radar Ventures. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Automattic turned down an acquisition offer several months ago from a "larger Internet company." Mullenweg's only apparent reference to this in his blog post was his statement that WordPress had become so successful that choosing between the "approach of serious acquisition or majority-stake investments" became an obvious next step.
Automattic has about 18 employees, according to the Journal, and also operates several lesser-known software products like forum software BBPress and spam management product Akismet. But WordPress is its centerpiece, powering around 2.2 million blogs--active and otherwise--from personal blogs to the digital properties of high-profile media publications like The New York Times, Fortune, and CNN. The Journal hinted that some of the $29.5 million will be used to allow some early employees and investors to cash out; GigaOm's Om Malik suggested that the company may also hire more engineers, anticipating continued growth.
Mullenweg's blog post seemed to confirm this speculation: "Automattic is now positioned to execute on our vision of a better Web not just in blogging, but expanding our investment in antispam, identity, wikis, forums, and more -- small, open source pieces, loosely joined with the same approach and philosophy that has brought us this far."