A blockbuster investment by Andreessen Horowitz is shining a spotlight on Imgur (pronounced 'imager'), one of the web’s defacto imaging hosts that has, until now, remained largely behind the scenes.

The $40 million injection represents a first for Imgur, which has never accepted outside money before and has never expanded beyond 13 total employees, founder Alan Schaaf told Betabeat. Though the startup has been approached by countless venture capitalists, “we never really found a good fit.”

Reddit, the dynamic online community for which Imgur was originally created by Schaaf in college as a gift, also invested a vastly smaller, undisclosed sum.

Imgur’s exponential growth, including over 3 billion page views and 130 million unique visitors each month, means that the company is emerging as more than just a hosting platform. 

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It now boasts its own budding community of uploaders and commenters and Schaaf has frequently likened the venture to a “YouTube for images.”

Stating that 30 percent of its traffic comes straight through the front door, Schaaf clarified that Imgur has its own following beyond browsers referred to the site by Reddit, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

As part of its investment, Lars Dalgaard, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will join Imgur’s board. “Overall, the site has not been optimized for the scale,” Dalgaard told Betabeat of its untapped potential.

However, expansion won’t come at the price of the site’s much-beloved free and speedy interface. “I hope we don’t make the site more complicated,” he said.

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