User generated content company Wikia is breaking the news of its raise of over $10.8 million in Series C funding today, in a press release soon to be sent out to tech media. The financing was led by Institutional Venture Partners with a follow on from existing investors Bessemer Ventures Partners and Amazon.com. [SEC filing here.]
The company, which is already profitable and will remain “profitable for years,” according to its CEO, will use the cash to bolster its mobile and video efforts. With the added financing, Wikia’s total funding is now $25 million.
Founded by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley, Wikia is a web-hosting service for vertical related wikis. Usage of Wikia is free for readers and editors, but, unlike Wikipedia, it actually makes money through advertising against its scale. Dwarfed in mindshare by its big brother Wikipedia, the collaborative media company now boasts one of the largest networks of user-generated gaming content on the planet. It supports over 250K communities and 20 million pages of user-generated content, 100,000 videos, 14 million photos, etc.
In fact, for the first time this month, Wikia’s global traffic hit 70 million unique visitors and 1 billion page views, namely from gamers who are obsessed with the minute details of their favorite titles.
Back in April, the organization pushed out a big redesign, attempting to bring together the worlds of professional content creation and the craziness of user-generated content, as well as bring a more user-friendly and professional feel to its experience.
Before, it was a loose confederation of gaming communities, articles and wikis, but it’s recently been moving to put all of these pieces under one unified umbrella, launching hub pages and opening the site up to further advertising. No longer does it look like Wikipedia’s forgotten younger sibling; it has the feel of a professional entertainment site. It’s also made it a lot easier to find great content and discover the real gems (and most reliable voices) in the sea of UGC.
With its new funding under its belt, Wikia will look to move more aggressively down this road — into what CEO Craig Palmer calls the “post-editorial world.” That means continuing to provide users with a platform they have some ownership over, where fans can make their voices heard, but also one that is a conduit through which brands and advertisers can connect with these fans and engaged users. The matter, of course, is finding the right balance between niche and mainstream — and balanced and objective content with advertiser influence. It’s a hard one to strike, but this is where things are moving.