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LOLcats, I can has cheezburger, Ben Hu


Raising money, being a profitable venture from the get go and finding a golden opportunity is no easy drill for any entrepreneur.

Ben Huh, a former journalist, says it can be done and he just did it.

His holding company Pet Holdings, which run a slew of comedy-heavy, user-generated stuff, sites that the curate topics are based on user votes and interest in the content. Some of their wacky properties are: I Can Has Cheezburger, also known as LOL Cats, FAIL Blog, which shows user-submitted photos of all manner of things and people that are, well, failing at something and Memebase, that tracks Internet memes. Check all of them out. They are amazingly entertaining.

Under Ben’s leadership the company just raised a $30 million round of Series A financing for expansion. The funding round was sponsored by Foundry Group’s Brad Feld. The two met about one and a half years ago and developed a strong relationship. Feld said, “It’s a combination of a great team, a great leader and an ability to create something that can become a very large media property”. See full story from VentureWire.

In 2007 Ben bought the main Cheezburger site, also known as LOLcats, from two entrepreneurs in Hawaii and built it into an online collection of the funnest pictures of animals with the site’s signature misspelled captions plastered over them.

The company has grown to become the largest humor network in the world with growth to 16 million monthly unique visitors and 375 million monthly page views.

Holy feline!! With traffic like that, it’s no surprise that they earn lots of income from ad revenues and merchandise.

Congrats Ben! and all the cats and folks that helped him build his empire. And thanks for the inspiration.

Is there more room in this market space of completely goofy, user-generated content, weird named ventures? What niches have not been tapped yet and can they dance more than one song?

Top photo credit from I Can Has Cheezburger, author unknown.

Also, check out: 5 tips to manage the painful side effects of progress and change.