Twitter Gets Massive Funding as U.S. Growth Stalls


twitter_smallADOTAS – For a while Twitter has been breaking potential acquirers’ hearts while charming numerous venture suitors. Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers (KPCB) presented the best offer (and beat out the Russian investors at DST Global), leading the microblogger’s latest $200 million round of funding.

Former DoubleClick CEO David Rosenblatt and Flipboard CEO Mick McCue hopped onto the Twitter board. All existing investors joined in except for Union Square Ventures, which also sat out last round — fund size restrictions would seem to be the reason, but managing partner Fred Wilson has been very vocal in his concern that many venture-backed companies are becoming way over-valued. The $200 million cash injection places Twitter’s valuation at $3.7 billion.

As Business Insider notes, a potential acquirer (cough, Google) would probably need to pony up at least $8 billion to get consideration. Cofounder Biz Stone recently said the company wouldn’t sell for even $5 billion, but he didn’t mention $8 billion. Anyway, Google could pull it off since it didn’t waste $6 billion on Groupon… yet.

But the funding news comes after numerous reports about the microbloggers’ stalled U.S. growth. A Pew Research Center report found that only 8% of Internet-using adults in the U.S. have Twitter accounts — which means that of Twitter’s 65 million accounts, only 15 million are actual users. Also, a lot of those users don’t actually interact, just blindly post — and you thought narcissism reached new heights on Facebook.

TechCrunch’s Erick Schoenfeld also notes that Twitter’s U.S. growth is slowing down — comScoore shows U.S. uniques in November were at 24 million, down from 25.1 million the prior month. While U.S. uniques are about a quarter higher than the year before, the last month of growth was in July. To give it some perspective, Facebook had 152 million and LinkenIn had 28.5 million U.S. uniques in November.

Twitter is still making growth waves outside the U.S., with 104.6 million global uniques in October, a nearly 80% hike from the year before. Also, the September redesign seems to be going over well with U.S. users as page views are up 23% annually and time spent on the site has increased nearly 50%.

On the Twitter blog, CEO Dick Costolo notes that in the last year the social network has added 100 million new registered accounts and users have sent 25 billion Tweets. Twitter’s staff has jumped from 130 to 350, and the company has introduced numerous monetization products.

But is it really worth $3.7 billion? You tell me.


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