Automattic Is Raising $160M in New Funding

photo credit: Peter Slutsky
photo credit: Peter Slutsky

WordPress currently powers 22% of all websites, up from 18% in 2013, with a CMS market share of 59.8%. The success of WordPress.com, Automattic’s flagship product, is part of the reason that number continues to rise steadily. WordPress.com makes it easy for anyone to create a WordPress site without the burden of setting up hosting to install the software.

This morning Automattic’s founder, Matt Mullenweg, announced that the company is raising $160M in new funding. After taking the helm as CEO earlier this year, Mullenweg said that he set out on a 100-day plan to pursue new funding and find a set of partners who share Automattic’s vision of an open web.

Although Automattic is healthy and growing, Mullenweg cites recent infrastructure and product investments as part of the reason the company will require more cash in order to continue its rapid growth.

Things were and are going well, but there was an opportunity cost to how we were managing the company toward break-even, and we realized we could invest more into WordPress and our products to grow faster.

This is the first time the company has raised money since 2008 when it pulled in $12 million. Automattic is now valued at $1.16 billion for this round of $160 million in new funding. “This is obviously a lot of money, especially considering everything we’ve done so far has been built on only about $12M of outside capital over the past 8 years,” Mullenweg said.

The new funding opens a window of opportunity for Automattic and enables the company to launch new products and hire more employees to support its rapid growth. Mullenweg, who is also the co-founder of the open source WordPress project, closes his announcement post with a reaffirmation of Automattic’s commitment to support the community behind WordPress.

I believe WordPress will win, first and foremost, because of its community — the hundreds of core developers and large commercial companies, the tens of thousands of plugin and theme developers, and the millions of people who build beautiful things with WordPress every day. Automattic is here to support that community and invest the full strength of our resources to making WordPress a better product every day, bringing us closer to our shared mission of democratizing publishing.

With this round of fundraising finishing shortly, it’s clear that Automattic’s investors are ready to support its guiding mission, and they’re betting firmly on the community behind WordPress.

11 Comments


  1. Who wouldn’t want to invest in Automattic? Seems like a no-brainer to me. I hope it was made clear to investors that they are investing in Automattic, WP.com and their associated products, not the software that powers 22% of the web.

    The question on the minds of many is when will the company go public, if at all?

    Report


    1. Hi Sarah and Jeff

      “I hope it was made clear to investors that they are investing in Automattic, WP.com and their associated products, not the software that powers 22% of the web.”

      You know I assumed that we were talking wordpress.org here but obviously not.

      Is it wordpress.com that makes the money and wordpress.org that we bloggers and businesses use?

      Confused of Solihull in the UK?

      Report


      1. Pretty much.

        There is the WordPress foundation which is a non profit organization that furthers the mission of the open source project known as WordPress http://wordpressfoundation.org/

        Then, there is the self-hosted, open source, project known as WordPress. It’s what you download and install on webhosts from WordPress.org.

        Then there is WordPress.com, a service owned and operated by Automattic of which Matt Mullenweg is the CEO. WordPress.com earns revenue primarily from upgrades users can purchase to enhance their blogs. As a company, Automattic earns revenue from their services, VIP platform, and a very small amount through advertising.

        Matt Mullenweg is the co-creator of the open source project known as WordPress, CEO of Automattic which operates WordPress.com, and chief board member of the WordPress Foundation. Every now and then, he leads a release of WordPress.

        As you can see, Matt wears many hats and in my opinion, has done a very good job of balancing each out separately to avoid controversy.

        This explanation may or may not have helped you but at the very least, you can see why there is so much confusion. It’s not hard to figure out who’s who but it sure is hard to remember.

        Report


      2. I loved Matt’s vision and mission “Democratizing Publishing”. Kinda placed us into 21st e-century crusaders! I’ve heard little about Mark Little the co-founder of WordPress.

        Report


  2. Wow! Jeff makes a good point — Automattic, wp.com and their associated products are separate from WordPress.

    Report


    1. “Automattic, wp.com and their associated products are separate from WordPress.”

      Now I really am confused.

      Report


      1. When I say associated products, I’m referring to IntenseDebate, PostKit, PollDaddy, anything officially under the Automattic umbrella.

        Report


  3. LOL @ the irony of an article that exudes a sense of pride by proxy in a brand that apparently is very successful raising money among investors but leaves a wake of confusion precisely among those who use the product most intensively and therefore logically assumed they understand it better than most.

    It certainly spawns an interesting reflection, on the finer points of brand management and user experience management, and how mastery of one one isn’t necessarily the same as excellence in the other.

    Either way, yay Matt! He’s doing a phenomenal job. I often refer to him as the open software community’s own Steve Jobs. And that is really meant as a compliment.

    Report


  4. Best of luck to Automattic! What a truly amazing company.

    Now, If only I had the capital to be an investor…

    Report


  5. So, as a first timer here I wanted to say that your site is completely superb! We’re interested in starting a volunteer community initiative in this niche. The tips on your blog were extremely helpful to us, as it gave us something to work on. Thanks.

    Report

Comments are closed.