A media company that focuses exclusively on animal stories was just funded to the tune of $4.68 million. The Dodo, which launched earlier this year, comes from new media royalty. It was co-founded by Izzie Lerer. (Izzie loves animals.) Izzie’s dad is Kenneth Lerer. Ken is the chairman of Buzzfeed. He was a co-founder of The Huffington Post. He’s an investor, through his Lerer Ventures, in Business Insider, which happens to write very nicely about The Dodo. In other words, if you don’t like the content you’re seeing on the Internet, call Kenneth Lerer–he’s responsible for at least half of it!
But is it crazy to invest almost $5 million in a media property that barks? (And that’s not including the soft meow of a million bucks seed money that got the project started last fall–or is that bird seed money in the Dodo parlance?) Of course not. It’s genius–just like Business Insider says. (We told you they were nice.) Because as everyone knows the Internet is already about 1/3 cute animal photos. Who’s going to own that space? (As they say in the biz.) And it doesn’t just rain cats and dogs (and money) at Dodo. There are whales and tigers and celebs with pets! And it’s serious too: along with wondering “Can Dogs Tell Time?” (kind of) and listing the “27 Most Michievous Dogs Ever,” Dodo looks hard at SeaWorld’s problems and at ivory poachers too. And then there’s the circus. The circus is bad. Dodo may end up doing for animal rights what media outlier TMZ is doing for investigative journalism: you start out with an idea for a place to put your kitty pics, and you end up saving the whales. That’s a prize that’s worth the money, for sure.