We were originally introduced to Cheezburger’s founder and CEO Ben Huh about 18 months ago by our mutual friend Micah Baldwin at the LA TwiistUp event. We apparently shared a fondness for clever misspellings and hit it off immediately.
At the beginning on 2010, with our friend Greg Gottesman from Madrona Venture Group, we approached Ben and started talking about investing in Cheezburger. The timing wasn’t right for Ben and his investors for a variety of reasons but we stayed in touch.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, Ben called and asked if we were still interested in putting together a financing and really going for it. During the year we had really honed our view of a new theme we have been calling “Distribution.” Cheezburger was right in the sweet spot of this theme, along with Zynga, Topspin, and StockTwits. Since we knew the company well, it took about 17 seconds for us to agree that we wanted to see if we could put something together.
We quickly put together a syndicate with Madrona, Avalon Ventures (with whom we’ve co-invested in Zynga and Standing Cloud) and SoftBank Capital (with whom we’ve had a long relationship and recently co-invested in Cloud Engines), figured out a deal with Ben and his existing investors, and now have a chance to be a lot more humorous on a day to day basis.
In the last three years, Cheezburger has grown far beyond their original lolcats site. They are now a major disruptive force in the way we consume all kinds of humor. We expect Ben to start putting this money to good use right away, hiring engineers, PMs, and sales staff. The jobs are listed at http://jobs.cheezburger.com. If you’re still reading this, you really should pounce on the opportunity to work for the funniest company we’ve ever seen.