Twitter Gets Influx of Cash, Goes for Madison Avenue
Twitter confirmed recent speculation of a "significant" round of funding, stating today on a blog post that the company will use the money to "aggressively innovate, hire more great people and invest in international expansion." One of the national expansions is a New York office, opened just this morning. The office location on Madison Avenue and 43rd Street is a clear indicator of Twitter courting the heart of the ad world.
The funding round -- which All Things Digital speculates to be as high as $800 million -- comes from Russia-based Digtial Sky Technologies, a venture firm that has its hands in many social-networking properties, including Facebook. The $800 million funding -- if true -- places Twitter's valuation at $8 billion. Twitter declined to state the amount of the investment.
In the post announcing the funding, Twitter said it has tripled in size from a year ago, increasing employees to more than 600 from 250. Sixty of those employees are ad sales, Twitter told Ad Age . According to LinkedIn, 16 people work at the new Twitter office in New York, and four of those people are in sales.
There's no denying that Twitter is growing -- the company said it delivered 65 million tweets a day a year ago, and that number has grown to 200 million tweets today. While Twitter has hundreds of millions of users, the company has a fledgling ad business; it refers to many of its offerings as "experiments" and "tests," including last week's announcement of a feature that infuses user timelines with ads from brands they follow. The feature is "testing" with 20 marketers.
The fresh influx of cash will mostly likely be used for more sales-team members, similar to the hires announced last week. Twitter added three execs from the agency and marketing worlds, including Joel Lunenfeld, CEO of digital agency Moxie Interactive, a unit of Publicis Groupe ; longtime E-Trade exec Pam Kramer as its first VP-consumer marketing; and J.B. Kropp, who was VP-strategic partnerships for Facebook-marketing-software firm Vitrue, and will head up marketing efforts to packaged goods companies.