WordPress Co-Founder: “We Still Have 70 Percent of the Web to Go”

Matt MullenwegYou have to love ambitious entrepreneurs. The bottom line is that if you’re trying to grow a company, you can’t rest on your laurels. To the contrary, you need to keep scratching, fighting, and pushing your way to the top, even after you’ve succeeded. Take Automattic CEO and WordPress Co-Founder Matt Mullenweg, who told TechCrunch in recent days that despite all of WordPress’ success over the years, “We still have 70 percent of the web to go.”

You’ll remember a recent article here on ThemeSquirrel about Automattic seeking a $1 billion valuation, which seemed overwhelmingly high to some people, but fair to others. Whatever your take on the astronomical sum may be, Automattic ended up being valued at $1.16 billion during its most recent round of funding, which brought in $160 million.

TechCrunch pointed out that despite Mullenweg being one of the most well recognized people in the WordPress world, he still tools around his hometown in a 1998 Chevy Lumina. Yes, that model of car no longer exists and is the same one this author’s mother drove for a decade.

WordPress has been facing competition from other content management systems and among those creeping around is Medium. TechCrunch asked Mullenweg about Medium, which was created by the co-founders of Twitter. Mullenweg responded, “Their editor interface is great, but I think we can do a next version of it… We think about how to make WordPress better all day. We do try to strive for excellence.”

One major advantage WordPress has, and one that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, is the continued explosion of mobile devices. This author’s home alone has more mobile devices than inhabitants and, according to the Wall Street Journal, Mullenweg considers phones and tablets to be allies, not enemies: “With mobile, people are writing more and consuming more, but they’re just as comfortable consuming long-form [content] on phones and tablets as they were on a desktop.”

What’s next for WordPress and its fearless founder? TechCrunch explained that the platform has several major projects on deck: “[Mullenweg singled out] a project called ‘new dash,’ which is a major rewrite of the WordPress backend and editing interface. He also hinted that the iOS 8 editing tools will allow the company to provide a mobile interface that is ‘much, much better’… The company also plans to focus on Jetpack, its tool for bringing cloud-hosted features from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress blogs.”

Automattic has been quite busy as of late. The company purchased Longreads in April and, shortly thereafter, acquired Scroll Kit, promptly shutting that service down. World domination could be next, but you’d never know it from the cool, calm, and collected Mullenweg, who seems to be the person you’d want with you in a bunker during a zombie apocalypse.

raining moneyWhat we do know is that Automattic has several ventures earmarked for the $160 million it just raised. The Journal outlined, “With the funding… the nine-year-old company plans to grow its staff; improve its offering beyond the English-, Spanish-, and German-language speaking markets; and potentially acquire other startups.”

According to a post from Mullenweg, the $160 million cash infusion is the company’s first investment in six years. Moreover, it has required just $12 million in “outside capital” in the last eight years, making the $160 million figure even more eye-opening.

Mullenweg elaborated on the need for cash, saying, “There was an opportunity cost to how we were managing the company toward breakeven and we realized we could invest more into WordPress and our products to grow faster. Also, our cash position wasn’t going to be terribly strong [going forward].”

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