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Automattic CEO and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg in 2014. Photo by Auby Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE via Getty Images

Automattic Inc., the parent company of web publishing platform WordPress.com, announced on Thursday that it raised a $300 million as a part of a Series D round from Salesforce Ventures. The investment puts Automattic’s valuation at $3 billion post-funding.

Why it matters: "A website for everyone" is the cry of a bygone tech era, but businesses and many individuals still want to set up their own websites, and WordPress remains the dominant tool in the field.

Details: The raise brings Automattic's total amount raised to $491 million in funding over four rounds. Salesforce Ventures joins Insight, Tiger Global, and True Ventures as an investor in the company.

  • For Automattic, the funding will help the company grow its WordPress business, says Automattic CEO and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.
  • For Salesforce, the funding deepens the company's commitment to WordPress and the open web, says President and Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor.

Be smart: WordPress is an open-source software platform that's owned by a non-profit group called The WordPress Foundation. The foundation works to ensure that WordPress remains a free, open-sourced platform that's accessible for anyone to contribute to, mostly by improving its code.

  • The popular consumer-facing domain WordPress.com is owned by privately held Automattic. Mullenweg was a co-founder of WordPress. According to Mullenweg, WordPress powers more than 34% of all sites on the web.

Between the lines: Automattic makes most of its money by selling subscriptions to software services that are related to the WordPress platform, like WooCommerce, an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress; Jetpack, a customization and security plugin for WordPress; and enterprise WordPress for businesses.

  • It also makes money by selling advertising against some of the free blogs that users create on WordPress.com.

The big picture: In August, Automattic purchased Tumblr from Verizon for less than $3 million, a fraction of what it was worth when Yahoo bought it for $1.1 billion in 2013 (Verizon later acquired Yahoo).

  • Mullenweg alluded to the fact that he doesn't plan to make any major changes to Tumblr and that he sees it as complementary to his biggest money-maker, WordPress.com.
  • Our thought bubble: WordPress.com and Tumblr, although very different products, have both centered on creative empowerment — giving people free tools to build a platform and audience on the web.

The bottom line: The raise doesn't seem to be related to Automattic's recent acquisition of Tumblr.

Editor‘s note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct amount of total funds raised over four rounds and to clarify that Yahoo, not Verizon, purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion.

Go deeper

Minneapolis braces for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial

National Guard soldiers posted on a street corner near downtown. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Minneapolis is waking up to images of an occupied city on Monday, as the city and the world await a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

What it's like: Residents running errands, picking up dinner and heading to the dog park in recent days encountered heavily-armed National Guard troops stationed throughout the city.

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Russian authorities say Navalny has been transferred to prison hospital

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a hospital in another penal colony, one day after his doctor warned that the jailed Putin critic "could die at any moment," Russia's prison service said Monday.

Why it matters: News that Navalny's condition had severely deteriorated on the third week of a hunger strike prompted outrage from his supporters and international demands for Russia to provide him with immediate medical treatment.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
44 mins ago - Economy & Business

The state worst hit by the pandemic

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the job facing governments was to save lives and save jobs. Very few states did well on both measures, while New York, almost uniquely, did particularly badly on both.

Why it matters: The jury is still out on whether there was a trade-off between the dual imperatives; a new analysis from Hamilton Place Strategies shows no clear correlation between the two.