Vox Media, which owns sites like The Verge, Racked, and SB Nation, has raised $46.5 million from General Atlantic at a valuation of $380 million. The new funding, which is supposed to be announced on Monday, was reported in a New York Times article that has been retweeted by Vox Media. We’re taking that as confirmation of the funding amount, but have reached out to Vox to see if the valuation is accurate.
General Atlantic’s investment in Vox follows major investment news from several other media outlets. In August, BuzzFeed scored $50 million from Andreessen Horowitz at a reported $850 million valuation. More recently, Reddit closed $50 million in funding at a $500 million valuation from Sam Altman, Sequoia Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz. And last year, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post Company for $250 million.
Each time a media platform scores a big raise, it leads to a lot of headscratching from people wondering how online content can still be a profitable venture. But, seriously, what are you doing right now? Reading online content.
All this shock at media being actually valuable. Guys, guys, what are you staring at all day?
— Alexia Tsotsis (@alexia) December 1, 2014
Furthermore, an investment in online media isn’t just about pouring money into articles and gifs. When Andreessen Horowitz made its investment in BuzzFeed, general partner Chris Dixon wrote on his blog that the venture capital firm sees the company “as a prime example of what we call a ’full stack startup.’”
In other words, BuzzFeed isn’t just dishing up clickbait. It is also building technology that has (and will continue to) change how people consume online content and how companies monetize it. A similar argument can be made for Reddit, which now has more than five billion monthly page views and 115 million unique visits each month, making it one of the biggest content-sharing sites in the world.
What about Vox then? In an April interview with the New York Times, Ezra Klein, who left the Washington Post’s Wonkblog to join Vox, detailed the startup’s tech innovations, which includes a content-management system called Chorus that makes it easier for writers to edit and illustrate their posts, and word-recognition software that allow for quicker comment moderation on sites like SB Nation, where reader engagement is key.
Its focus on software development has helped Vox Media’s properties grow rapidly. For example, Vox.com, the news site helmed by Klein, grew to 10.9 million visitors in October, according to comScore, just half a year after launching in April.