Viral media and news site BuzzFeed, which made waves last month by snagging star Politico blogger Ben Smith as its new editor in chief, announced today that it raised $15.5 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates, Lerer Ventures, Hearst Interactive Media, Softbank, and RRE Capital.
NEA general partner Patrick Kerins will join BuzzFeed's board and former Huffington Post president Greg Coleman will become an active advisor, while HuffPo co-founder and BuzzFeed investor Kenneth Lerer will take the title of executive chairman. (BuzzFeed’s CEO and co-founder Jonah Peretti also co-founded the Huffington Post.)
Smith and his new social-savvy editorial team—which includes Gawker’s Matt Cherette and Whitney Jefferson and C-SPAN-trolling wunderkind Andrew Kaczynski—have been busily beefing up BuzzFeed’s original content and political reporting, adding breaking news (they were the first to report John McCain’s plan to endorse Mitt Romney) to the site’s existing stable of cat videos and trending memes.
The additional funding will be a major asset in BuzzFeed’s quest to become a top-tier content site. “It’s so expensive competing against major media organizations,” CEO Peretti told TechCrunch, “And now we can do it.”