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WordPress Parent Automattic Raises $300M from Salesforce Ventures

Thursday Sep 19th 2019 by Sean Michael Kerner

Open source technology company gets a big boost from Salesforce.

Automattic, the company behind the open source WordPress content management (CMS) announced on Sept. 19 that it has raised $300 million in a new Series D round of funding.

Of note, the entire round was contributed by Salesforce Ventures, bringing total funding to data for Automattic up to $617 million. The Series D marks the first new raise for Automattic since 2014

"This puts us at a post-round valuation of $3 billion, three times what it was after our last fundraising round in 2014," Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic wrote. "It’s a tremendous vote of confidence for Automattic and for the open web."

Few if any enterprise apps are as widely used as content management system (CMS) and in that space WordPress has long been a leader. WordPress in 2019 powers over a third of all websites on the internet in a number of ways. There is the open source WordPress CMS which anyone can download and use, then there are also hosted, supported versions of WordPress including services offered by Automattic.

Mullenweg said that the new funding will help to grow his company's commercial platforms including the WordPress.com and WordPress VIP service, as well as Tumblr. Automattic announced its intention to acquire Tumblr on Aug. 12 (which had been owned by Yahoo and is now owned by Verizon).

There is no indication at this point about any specific or new integration between Automattic and Salesforce. Mullenweg commented that he met Salesforce founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff earlier this year.

"Marc is a mindful leader and his sensibilities and sense of purpose feel well aligned with our own mission to make the web a better place," Mullenweg wrote. "He also helped open my eyes to the incredible traction WordPress and WP VIP has seen in the enterprise market, and how much potential there still is there."

WordPress 5.3

The most recent version of WordPress is currently the 5.2.3 update that became generally available on Sept. 5.

The next and final major release of WordPress in 2019 will be the 5.3 update currently scheduled for release on Nov. 19, with development being led by none other than Mullenweg himself as the release lead. At least 120 features and enhancements are currently being tracked to land in WordPress 5.3. Among the enhancement will be the new 2020 default theme.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseAppsToday and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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