To date, Ning has been mostly internally financed by me and a small group of angel investors who are close friends and colleagues of ours. This internal financing has allowed us to stay lean and focused while we built out our platform and service over the last two and a half years.
However, with our February release of Your Own Social Network for Anything, we achieved product/market fit and the service has been scaling very rapidly. Now we are substantially expanding our product plans — we have a long list of features and product capabilities we plan to add as fast as we possibly can – and, we want to staff up our ability to support our members and developers as they find ever more creative ways to use our platform.
To these ends, we recently closed our first outside investment round — our so-called “Series C” — with a top-notch group of institutional investors. The round was orchestrated by our friends at Allen and Company in New York. We raised $44 million. The round was led by Legg Mason with a number of other investors participating, including me.
We will be investing that money in our business — in scaling our operations to accommodate our traffic and growth; in our product design and development efforts; and in our platform evangelism and support programs. Apart from those investments, we plan on staying as lean and focused as we possibly can.
If you use Ning today, you’ll hopefully find that the service continues to get better and better even as we are operating at much higher levels of scale. If you don’t use Ning yet, we hope that with the new capabilities we will be adding, we will make it as irresistible as possible for you to start using it :-).