Spark Contributes to Tumblr’s $4.5 Million Series B Round

12/11/08Follow @wroush

Boston’s Spark Capital and New York’s Union Square Ventures are the lead co-investors in a $4.5 million Series B financing round for Tumblr, a tiny New York-based startup that offers a stripped down, extremely user-friendly “microblogging” platform.

The investment, announced this morning, is a huge boost over the startup’s $775,000 initial financing, led last year by Spark and Union Square. Up to now, the core team at Tumblr has consisted of just three people, counting its 22-year-old founder, programmer-entrepreneur David Karp. But the investment has already allowed the company to hire a real executive team, starting with its new president John Maloney, a veteran of CNET and UrbanBaby.com.

Tumblr DashboardWhile there are plenty of free or low-cost blogging platforms such as WordPress, LiveJournal, and Vox, Tumblr has set itself apart by making it easy for users to create short, media-rich posts, often simply by uploading a single quote, link, photograph, song, or video. There’s also a social-networking element to the system: from the main Tumblr dashboard (pictured here), users can browse new posts from their Tumblr friends, and can re-blog the posts they like. (Full disclosure: I’ve been using Tumblr for my own personal blog since late 2007.)

Before founding Tumblr, Karp worked with Maloney for three years at UrbanBaby, a New York-focused discussion site for parents of young children that’s part of CBS’s CNET division. “John’s focus on operations and business frees me to lead product development and scale our platform,” Karp said in a statement. The company plans to launch premium services next year that will start bringing in revenue.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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