Upworthy, the viral video site for do-gooders, raises $8M

Upworthy, the “mission-driven media company” that aggregates photos, videos and articles under new headlines in the hopes of sending them viral, announced Monday that it’s raised $8 million in a Series A round led by Spark Capital. The company plans to use the funds for hiring, expanding its editorial coverage areas and building new tech.

“Our mission here has always been to draw attention to stuff that really matters using irresistible social media,” Upworthy’s cofounders — Eli Pariser, who previously ran MoveOn.org, and Peter Koechley, former managing editor of the Onion — wrote in a blog post. The company, which launched 18 months ago, now has over 20 million monthly visitors and 30 employees.

In addition to Spark Capital, which was an early investor in Tumblr and Twitter, Catamount Ventures (which also backed Seventh Generation and Plum Organics), new VC firm Uprising and the Knight Foundation contributed to the round. Upworthy raised $4 million in seed funding last year.

Upworthy has primarily focused on social and political issues until now, but told TechCrunch it will use the funding in part to expand coverage of topics like parenting and global health. Koechley also suggested that the site, which has no advertising, is looking toward sponsorships: “We think a number of these sections that we might want to delve more deeply into are sections that people might want to underwrite.”