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SBD/August 25, 2011/FinancePrint All
Bleacher Report has announced a $22M venture capital round, led by new investor Oak Investment Partners, joined by prior Bleacher Report investors Hillsven Capital and Crosslink Capital. Bleacher Report last December closed on a $10.5M venture capital round, and originally was not planning to take another round so soon. But CEO Brian Grey said the site this year is strongly outperforming internal business plans on both traffic and revenue, necessitating some growth-related decisions ahead of schedule. "This round of money has really set us up now to go after it," Grey said. "We are focused on building a really big, independent, stand-alone company and publishing platform, and delivering an experience for the fan that isn't out there anywhere else." The money will be spent on additional products and possibly an international expansion, as opposed to cashing out early investors. The $22M by itself eclipses Bleacher Report's initial three funding rounds, and collectively, nearly $39M has now been invested in the company. Oak Investment Partners Managing Partner Fred Harman will now become a Bleacher Report board member as part of the deal. The investment round follows several other significant developments this year for Bleacher Report, including a series of editorial hires designed to boost the site's content quality (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Harman said, "Sports is a big opportunity and no one has gotten it right yet. People are clearly as passionate and opinionated as they are in politics, and they are less inhibited to express their opinions. I’d argue Bleacher Report has done a far better job of embracing the capabilities of the online medium than the big sports name brands have” (MEDIABISTRO.comm 8/24).