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WordPress.com Parent Automattic Joins the Billion-Dollar Club

Automattic, the company behind the widely used publishing platform WordPress.com, has raised $160 million in venture funding, company CEO Matt Mullenweg disclosed in a blog post. The new investments, which are being led by Insight Ventures, value the company at $1.16 billion, according to Re/code. WordPress.com is separate from WordPress.org, the open-source project through which people can self-host their own WordPress blogs.

Though Automattic says that WordPress powers 19% of the Web, the company has taken precious little venture funding during its 9-year existence. Automattic last took funding in 2008 and has only pulled in $12 million in outside capital over the last eight years, Mullenweg said. The new funding will help the company regenerate its cash reserves after infrastructure and product investments in recent years, such as the purchase of curated reading website Longreads in April. In 2012 the company said it was profitable and generated $45 million in revenue. WordPress makes money by offering a premium version of its free service for individual users and an enterprise platform for large publishers (Time.com runs on WordPress).

Automattic joins a rapidly growing number of tech companies valued at more than $1 billion. Venture funding has flowed freely to startups in recent years, though a recent decline in tech stocks has made early backers more wary of such investments.

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