We Have Completed $4.5 Million in New Funding

From time to time, I have shared with you the steps we’re taking to build Giga Omni Media, the 27-month-old company behind this and the other publications that make up the GigaOM network. Today, I am thrilled to announce the start of our company’s next phase.

We have just raised $4.5 million, led by new investor Alloy Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. True Ventures, our primary investors thus far, also participated in the round. The round was blessed by our angel investors, Rakesh Mathur, Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman as well. As part of the funding, Alloy Ventures general partner Ammar Hanafi will join the Giga Omni Media board.

We are going to use this new investment prudently, to enhance our technology platform and content offerings, add to our current portfolio of publications and expand our Events and Briefings businesses. We are in investing for the long-term — in ourselves.

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An Oddpost Reunion Of Sorts

This week I caught up with Ethan Diamond, one of the co-founders of email startup Oddpost, which in 2004 was sold to Yahoo and became the Ajax-y interface for Yahoo’s Mail. I first met Ethan that same year, when I was researching my “The New Road To Riches” story for Business 2.0. It was back in the early days of Web 2.0, when everyone knew everyone.

I was introduced to Ethan, Oddpost’s other co-founder, Iain Lamb, and former Oddpost CEO Toni Schneider by Anil Dash. Long story short, but that meeting essentially set off a chain of events that led to me leaving my job, going solo and getting financial backing for GigaOM from True Ventures, where Toni is now a partner.

Today, Toni is also an investor in Ethan’s new startup, BandCamp, which rather than email is focused on music. While Iain isn’t part of this reunion, Shawn Grunberger, also from Oddpost/Yahoo, is.

So what is this four-man startup — which is currently completely virtual — doing? Ethan was coy when I first met him, and he hasn’t changed. The first offering from his new company is ClubWiki, a venue info and booking wiki. He explains why they started it on the company blog. It seems to be getting good reviews from the musical crowd, despite early days.

Founder Matt Mullenweg on ‘Act II’ for Automattic

Om reported yesterday that Automattic, which makes the blogging platform WordPress (which we use), just raised $29.5 million in a B-round of venture funding. It is a big deal for the blogging industry — one investor is The New York Times, just the latest warning flare over the bow of old media. (True Ventures, an Automattic investor, has also funded GigaOM.)

Founder Matt Mullenweg has now blogged about the deal: what ‘Act II’ means for Automattic; how his company got here; some of the lessons he learned along the way. You’ll identify with the entrepreneurial tale:

“In 2005 Automattic was small. Through some miracle I had convinced Donncha O Caoimh, Andy Skelton, and Ryan Boren to leave their safe jobs, join a company with almost no money in the bank run by someone with no experience, and whose core idea was to give away and open source all our core IP. There were more questions than answers. Would a hosted version of WordPress move beyond the geek appeal the OS project had? How would the virtual company with no office work? Could we develop a service alongside an OS project without screwing both of them up? Should I raise money? Most importantly, would it scale?…”

Some of the answers to his questions were “hard-learned,” Matt writes. Aren’t they always? Which is why there is wisdom to be taken from Matt’s experience. Read his full post here.

Less Is More: Tumblr Raises $750K

Tumblr, a blogging software startup that ascribes to the philosophy that less is more, has raised $750,000 in Series A funding, according to Private Equity Hub. The money came from Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures, with Spark general partner Bijan Sabet joining Tumblr’s board.

Tumblr’s service, Tumblelogs, gives users pared-down tools to set up a personal web site where they can share and muse about what they find on the web or in the world. It doesn’t even have reader comments. You could think of it as a hybrid between Twitter and full-on blogging.

Full disclosure: Our investors at True Ventures have a stake in Automattic, which makes WordPress.com, on which the GigaOM Network runs.