Seattle's Cheezburger Network gets major investment

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 18, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 18 at 7:36 PM

SEATTLE – Seattle-based online humor startup Cheezburger Network has raised $30 million from venture capitalists.

Cheezburger operates more than 40 comedy Web sites including ICanHasCheezburger.com, Fail Blog, Memebase, Engrish Funny, and I Has a Hotdog.  Many of the sites give users a chance to submit humorous photos and videos, which are voted on by other users.

The funding investment is led by Foundry Group, with participation from Madrona Venture Group, Avalon Ventures, and Softbank Capital, according to a press release from Foundry Group published on cheezburger.com’s blog page.

"This allows us to take bigger risks, allows us to try new things and really it's for experimentation and to figure out what will work better for our audience," said Ben Huh, a former journalist who founded Cheezburger in September 2007.

The company, which currently has about 50 employees, hopes to add about 50 more positions now, Huh told KING 5.

The company has had very little funding from the beginning, relying on outside financing from angel investors. According to Foundry, Cheezburger now counts a user/fan base of 16.5 million people who “upload more than 500,000 pictures and videos as well as view 375 million pages and 110 million videos each month.”

Huh says Cheezburger has been profitable from the onset by making money through advertising, merchandising and other traditional media sources.  He attributes the company's popularity to the fact that people want to express themselves on the Internet.

The companies say a majority of the new investment funding will be used to hire more employees and fund marketing and growth initiatives.

"We're not curing cancer, but we're making people laugh and that's really important," Huh said.  "I want to continue to do that."

Eleven jobs were posted on Cheezburger.com's jobs page Tuesday. 

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