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BuzzFeed snaps up $50m from A16Z

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (nicknamed A16Z) is pumping $50M into listicle-generating news site BuzzFeed.

A16Z partner Chris Dixon made the announcement this evening on his personal blog. As part of the deal, Dixon will be joining BuzzFeed’s board.

(By the way, who makes major funding announcements at 6 p.m. Pacific on a Sunday? BuzzFeed execs: We hope you’re prepared for Dixon’s calls at any and all hours of the day or night, 24-7, because this man clearly has no sense of the weekend.)

Dixon writes that A16Z sees BuzzFeed as a “full stack startup,” not just a content-production company, with over 100 technologists on its team, building a platform used by over 200 writers and editors. And yes, it has graduated beyond mere listicles and cute cat galleries to long-form writing, hiring journalists with serious cred, even including a Pulitzer winner.

“Many of today’s great media companies were built on top of emerging technologies. Examples include Time Inc. which was built on color printing, CBS which was built on radio, and Viacom which was built on cable TV,” Dixon writes in his blog post, offering a highly selective but somewhat compelling view of media history.

Perhaps that explains venture capitalists’ fascination with pouring money into media startups, such as Vox Media, GigaOm, Say Media, and, yes, VentureBeat. Traditionally, media startups have a long time horizon until break-even and slow growth after that, if successful — while many older media companies have been foundering for a decade. But the “full stack” media startups must look different to this crop of investors.

Indeed, Dixon writes, BuzzFeed is already profitable, with numbers any business — media or not — would envy: “BuzzFeed now reaches over 150M people per month, is consistently profitable, and will generate triple digit millions in revenues this year.”

The $50 million raise is far short of the $200 million we heard BuzzFeed was angling for back in June. It’s still a hefty amount, more than doubling the company’s previous capital raises, bringing its total money raised to $96.3 million. The valuation was not disclosed, but is probably higher than the $200 million rumored valuation for the last round, in June, 2013.

Previous investors include SoftBank Capital, NEA, Lerer Ventures, RRE Ventures, Hearst Ventures, and SV Angel. They did not participate in this round, A16Z said.

Updated 8:58pm: Confirmed that previous investors did not participate, and added SoftBank Capital to the list of investors.