Political news site The Huffington Post announced today that it has raised $25 million from Oak Investment Partners — significantly higher than the $15 million that was reported by the Times UK in late November. Kara Swisher of All Things Digital says the valuation was slightly less than $100 million.
This basically confirms what VentureBeat writer Eric Eldon guessed last month when the funding rumors surfaced: “Like PaidContent said, the funding isn’t closed and the amount isn’t determined.” Looks like PaidContent was also correct on the valuation.
HuffPo, as it is commonly called, is looking to build on its momentum from the presidential race. You’d expect a lot of that energy to dissipate, but early numbers suggest that traffic continued to grow in the weeks after the election. Not that the site is betting solely on politics; it says it will be adding local sections — it already launched a Chicago site — as well as pages focused on entertainment, living, style and the environment. HuffPo plans to spend its new funding on that expansion as well as increased advertising capabilities, acquisitions and an investigative journalism initiative. I hear that video will probably play a big role in its growth and that a book site should be launching soon.
If the advertising climate is as bad as some are predicting, New York-headquartered HuffPo will definitely need all the money it can get. It’s also good to see a news site expanding at a time when almost everyone seems to be cutting back, and to see it putting money into investigative journalism, an expensive but important pursuit that big media organizations are making less and less time for. The site can probably grow in a more cost-effective way than most traditional publications, since so many of its blog posts are written for free.
Earlier this fall, The New Yorker ran an in-depth profile of founder Ariana Huffington, though gossip site Gawker complained the profile left a lot of unanswered questions, particularly about how Huffington runs the business.