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Andreessen Horowitz invests $50M in BuzzFeed

The viral content site plans to expand its international and video reach. Chris Dixon, general partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, joins as part of the deal.

Screenshot by Steven Musil

BuzzFeed, an entertainment and news startup whose numbered lists have turned everything from cute cats to silly pranks to vacation destinations into viral content, has closed a $50 million investment from prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

The New York-based company, which was founded in 2006, tracks and serves up the content that's getting the most attention on the Internet to its 150 million average monthly viewers. The funding gives BuzzFeed, which gets most of its revenue from producing custom content and videos for advertisers that looks similar to its own editorial content, a valuation of $850 million, according to the New York Times, which first reported the investment.

BuzzFeed is a "full stack startup" -- a company that takes a new approach to a service or product that bypasses existing companies -- Andreessen Horowitz general partner Chris Dixon wrote in a blog post Sunday evening. Dixon joins BuzzFeed's board of directors as part of the deal.

"The way I imagine the world in five years is that the Internet will be the dominant media consumption and communications tool," Dixon said in an interview Monday. BuzzFeed's success at delivering content on mobile devices and promoting its stories on social media will help it emerge as "preeminent media company...reaching hundreds of millions if not billions of people," he said.

BuzzFeed has more than 200 editorial employees and has used revenue earned from its ad and editorial content -- "28 People Who Can't Deal With The Modern World" is the top trending list on the site as of this writing -- to invest in news and long-form features. Though BuzzFeed doesn't disclose its sales, the company has been consistently profitable and will generate "triple digit millions in revenues" this year, according to Dixon. "I view it as a machine," said Dixon. "As it grows, they generate more and more revenue they can reinvest into producing more and more content."

The latest financing brings the company's funding raised to just over $96 million. Hearst Interactive Media and SoftBank were among early investors in the company.

CNET's Connie Guglielmo contributed to this report.

Updated 8/11 at 2:53 p.m. PT: with comment from Dixon.