Bitly Announces $15M Round Led By Khosla Ventures, Says Controversial Redesign Increased User Sign Ups

Bitly just announced that it has raised $15 million in new funding led by Khosla Ventures.

Back in May, The Verge reported that bitly was raising $20 million in new funding and preparing to launch a more consumer-oriented service. At the time, a company spokesperson said the story was “not based on any facts,” but the denial was worded in a vague enough way to leave the door open for future funding news.

And indeed, a couple of weeks later the company launched a big redesign that placed a bigger emphasis on social bookmarking. It led to a backlash from users who criticized the redesign for de-emphasizing link shortening (namely, the site’s original selling point). At the time, CEO Peter Stern told us that the criticism just came from “the vocal minority who are quick to complain about any change”.

The company mentions the redesign again in its funding announcement, calling it a “huge step” toward its broader goal of becoming “the primary online service for sharing and discovering interesting content.” As evidence, it says that daily registrations for the site have increased by 300 percent.

The new round was led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from past backers RRE Ventures and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. The company has now raised $28.5 million in venture funding.

Here’s the full statement sent by bitly:

“At bitly our vision is to be the primary online service for sharing and discovering interesting content. We took a huge step toward this goal with our recent redesign, with its focus on much broader uses of bitly. Since that launch at the end of May, we’ve already seen daily registrations increase by 300 percent.

Today, we’re happy to announce we’ve raised a $15 million strategic round of funding led by Vinod Khosla at Khosla Ventures to further develop bitly into the leading discovery platform. Vinod has long been a supporter of bitly and we’re thrilled to bring him on in this official capacity. RRE and OATV also participated in the round. This funding enables us to  focus on growing the team to expand our social web products.”