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Squarespace Gets $39 Million for Mysterious Publishing Initiative


Blogging engine Squarespace has just concluded its first external funding round in seven years, garnering $38.5 million in cash from Index Ventures and Accel Partners. The plan is to use it to better "redefine publishing" online.

Squarespace's founder and lead-programmer Anthony Casalena explains in a blog posting that he sees it as critical that companies reinvent themselves "or face extinction." In this case, $39 million will really help Squarespace do a lot of shuffling things around.

Accel Partners and Index Ventures are actually joining Squarespace's management team, bringing "expertise and resources," along with the founder and CEO of Getty Images, Jonathan Klein. New, big name talent will definitely add a certain pizazz to management decisions, though Casalena is careful to note the changes are via a minority investment, and the original team is still very much in charge. The investment itself will be used to let Squarespace "more rapidly produce the sort of products we want to make, and focus on getting those products to market. This investment will support our product, team, and geographical expansion initiatives."

That last bit is interestingly vague, in a vague, management-speaky way. Obviously Squarespace's customers "will be the real beneficiaries" of the new moves, but what, exactly will these moves be? Squarespace's competitors are as strong as they've ever been, with a huge list of companies big and small (right up to Google's gargantuan size, of course) ready to offer similar website design, blog hosting, and management. The "redefine publishing" phrase piques our curiosity. Squarespace really does have some clever plans up its sleeves—possibly embracing social networking, or even advanced future-facing Web tech like HTML5. This is speculation, but Accel and Index, who will be privy to the plans, think its worth putting cash behind.

To keep up with this news, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.