Investing in Tumblr

Yesterday, Tumblr announced their Series B financing which came from my firm Spark Capital and our friends at Union Square Ventures. Both firms led the initial financing in the company last summer.

I typically announce on this blog when we make an initial investment in a new company. I’ll also write about new product stuff from our portfolio from time to time.

But I don’t think I’ve ever written about a follow on financing before.

Given the economic climate we are in, I thought I’d share a few things about Tumblr and why were were so excited to invest in David’s company again.

Capital efficient from the start.

When I met David he had just launched Tumblr and started getting some initial traction. He had a web development company called Davidville that had been doing great work for Fred Seibert and the gang that would later form Next New Networks. David bootstrapped Tumblr to start. We then spent months getting to know each other and brainstorming whether it was the right time to leave Davidville behind and start a new company. Many months later in August or so, we invested $350k in the company and so did USV.

Amazing progress.

With less than $750k, David and Marco focused all of their attention on Tumblr. And they kept expenses to a minimum. They’ve added lots of new things to the service while keeping it dead simple. When we intially invested in the company last year, there were about 50k-ish users. Today Tumblr has well over 500k registered users and growing faster than ever. The audience reading Tumblr-powered sites is at 15 million uniques/month worldwide.

The Tumblr community is doing tons of creative stuff. They are building great sites, artists/photographers, musicians are also coming to Tumblr. And I’m loving all of the incredible 3rd party developer applications using the Tumblr api (e.g. Tumblrette).

The best part is that Tumblr users are hyper-active & engaged. Every day you can see the number of new posts/day across Tumblr. As of right now the number of new posts today is over 180k posts. I think that is incredible.

Looking ahead.

With plenty of funding for at least 2 years with a growing team, I’m very excited about all of the new stuff in the Tumblr pipeline. This is still a very early stage company with a lot of work ahead of them. But we really like what’s going on here and we believe in them.

I’m delighted to be an investor in the company.

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