Billionaire Thiel, Trump Allies Back Rumble Peter Thiel, Partner, Founders Fund speaks onstage during the 2018 New York Times Dealbook on Nov.1, 2018, in New York City. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)
By Eric Mack | Thursday, 20 May 2021 11:12 AM
A group of prominent conservative venture capitalists are backing the video platform Rumble, a burgeoning social media competitor to Google's YouTube, including the billionaire co-founder of PayPal Peter Thiel.
Amid myriad roadblocks for conservative voices by existing social media, including Big Tech's temporary shutdown of Parler, Rumble had found increasing popularity among conservatives looking for avenues to avert liberal censorship.
The size of the investment was not disclosed, but Rumble will use the money to build out its video infrastructure, live-streaming capabilities, global reach, and even build its servers to offer cloud solutions to businesses, according to CEO Chris Pavlovski.
A source that estimated Rumble's value at around $500 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"The growth of Rumble has created a vehicle for us to start offering cloud solutions to businesses," Pavlovski told the Journal. "This will be a major play against Big Tech."
Included in the investment group is J.D. Vance, author of "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis."
Vance is a co-founder of the Cincinnati-based venture-capital fund Narya Capital that is leading the Rumble investment, and Thiel is a Narya investor, according to the Journal.
Among the other investors is Colt Ventures, the family office of former Trump adviser Darren Blanton, the Journal reported.
Rumble began in 2013 initially as a platform for goofy pet videos, but it expanded its presence during the presidential campaign cycle last fall, jumping from 800K monthly visits in August to 25 million by October and 101 million in January, according to SimilarWeb.
Conservative Trump-supporters Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Dan Bongino both touted Rumble as the alternative to liberal social media companies engaging in political bias.
The traffic remains strong among the roughly 75 million America First, MAGA-lovers as Rumble drew 58 million visits in April, according to the report.
Narya Capital's co-founder Colin Greenspon, who considers the firm non-partisan, told the Journal the investment was sought because Rumble's interest in become a cloud service platform in addition to a video host.
"When you circle back to where all that goes from a cloud services standpoint, it all goes back to a few companies, and I think more and more of the global community is having a think about that," Greenspon told the Journal.
Rumble has more than taken on Google and YouTube for mere users and traffic. It has also filed a January lawsuit accusing Google of boosting YouTube in search results online and mobile over competitors like Rumble.
"YouTube has a monopoly, and there needs to be competition," Pavlovski told the Journal. "There needs to be choice."