The obvious first answer is Arianna Huffington and Ken Lerer, co-founders of the company.
But there were also plenty of investors in the company, including:
- Huffington, Lerer, friends and family, who provided the company’s $3 million seed round.
- Softbank Capital, Greycroft Partners and Bob Pittman, who put in $10 million over two rounds of VC. Softbank is a big venture firm that was an early investor in Yahoo and invests in social media companies like Paper.li. Softbank Partner Eric Hippeau went on to become Huffington Post’s CEO up until the acquisition. Greycroft was founded by private equity god Alan Patricof. And Bob Pittman founded MTV and invests in plenty of media companies.
- Oak Investment Partners led the company’s last round, $25 million at a reported $100 million post-money valuation. That means Oak owned around 25% of the company and did a quick 3X on their money — not bad. Interestingly, Oak was also a big investor in another huge and sometimes controversial online media company, Demand Media.
Because we don’t know the valuations of the earlier rounds, and how Huffington and Lerer split the pie, it’s hard to know exactly who made what. (Update: an analyst estimates that Huffington made around $100 million in the acquisition.) But with four rounds of financing it’s probably safe to say investors collectively owned over half of the company with the rest split between employees and early founders.
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