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BuzzFeed eyes UK expansion

Social news site BuzzFeed is readying expansion beyond the US into new geographical regions, including the UK, after securing a $19.3m (£11.9m) funding round.


The publisher says it will also use the additional funds - which brings the total capital raised since its launch in 2008 to around $46m (£28m) - to further mobile development, grow its editorial team and invest in video.

Additionally it says it will work on “new initiatives to be announced later this year”, but did not offer further details.

A BuzzFeed spokeswoman would not confirm whether the geographical expansion would include a UK office opening - but last month NME.com editor Luke Lewis announced on Twitter he is joining the company and it is understood he will not be relocating to the US.

In an interview with the Financial Times, BuzzFeed’s president and chief operating officer Jon Steinberg said “London is the next natural expansion”.

BuzzFeed has transformed from becoming an aggregation site for popular social content - such as pictures of cats and humorous videos - to a news organisation providing coverage across several verticals from politics to sports.

In December the company attracted 40 million unique monthly viewers, according to Google Analytics. It claims to have grown revenue “more than threefold” in 2012, exclusively from content-driven social advertising.

In the US the company recently hired Jeff Greenspan from Facebook and BBDO as its first chief creative officer to create shareable branded content that is distributed across social sites using its own BuzzFeed technology. The company now has about 180 employees.

The Series D financing, announced today (3 January), was led by venture capital firm NEA and included funding from previous investors RRE, Hearst, SoftBank, Lerer Ventures and new investment from Michael and Kass Lazerow, co-founders of social enterprise software company Buddy Media.

Lazerow says: “The big shift to social has arrived and BuzzFeed is building the defining media company for the social age. I’m very excited to invest and advise a company that is leading the industry forward with an innovative approach to both social content and social advertising.”

If you have a great social media case study that can demonstrate innovation and ROI then make sure you enter the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2013. The deadline is 15 January and you can find more here.

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