I'm no expert on VCs, but when I looked up Insight Venture Partners I saw that they also did a recent round with Campaign Monitor for $250 million. Campaign Monitor is another established startup that manages a ton of content for a small team. It was also Campaign Monitor's first ever fundraising. So it appears to me that they like working with established companies, and aren't afraid to use hefty amounts of capital in their investments.
Matt details the full list of participants on his post about the fundraising.
I don't get too excited about valuations, since I don't understand them very well, and they seem to vary wildly in short amounts of time. But a $1.16 billion valuation has a nice ring to it, and does officially put Automattic at a higher valuation than what Tumblr sold to Yahoo for around this time last year.
There is no sign, however, that Matt Mullenweg and the Automattic board intend to sell. In fact Matt has said before that he has no interest in selling.
Last year, after a different round, Matt said that fundraising was not due to directly needing cash:
Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained.
In the Re/code article, Matt is quoted s saying he was wrong about that.
“It was also only a year ago I said ‘Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained.’ I was wrong, but I didn’t realize it until I took on the CEO role in January
The article also states that this round of funding will be geared toward growing the team, growing their business, and marketing.
This marks the fifth and largest round of funding for Automattic, nearly matching the previous four rounds' combined total. However, two of those ($75 million and $51.7 million) were secondary market to pay back previous investors, making this round Automattic's Series C. You can see the others on CrunchBase.