Newsmakers 2011: Ben and Emily Huh unlock secret to Web humor at Cheezburger

Cheezburger's Ben and Emily Huh gobbled up new cash and Web sites in 2011

What’s it like being married to one of the worst-dressed men in tech? Emily Huh lives with that pain every day, and things seem to be working out just fine.

But it isn’t Ben Huh’s fashion sense, or Emily’s tolerance for it, that has landed them on GeekWire’s Newsmakers of the Year list for 2011, even though we got a few chuckles out of GQ’s special recognition of Ben’s preference for cat t-shirts.

The husband-and-wife team (Ben serves as CEO, while Emily works as editor-in-chief) have made our list for building one of the most surprising (and hilarious) success stories in Seattle tech.

Ben and Emily Huh in their Cheezburger attire

In the course of a few years, they’ve transformed a small cat photo blog into an international Web humor juggernaut. Cheezburger’s 50 or so comedy sites now attract more than 20 million monthly visitors, making it bigger than The Wall Street Journal’s Web site and many other well known media brands.

That’s no joke.

And 2011 was perhaps the biggest year yet for the entrepreneurial duo. It started in January when Cheezburger announced a whopping $30 million venture capital round, money that the Huhs said they would use to expand their growing humor empire.

It didn’t take long. In March, Cheezburger bought the online encyclopedia of Internet cultural trends: Know Your Meme. They’ve rolled out new books, and finally introduced a comprehensive mobile app for those who need a few giggles on the go.

Just last month, the company kicked off one of its most ambitious projects yet, an experimental offering called Cheezburger Sites that allows its growing ranks to develop their own personal humor pages.

With those sites and others in the works, expect the LOLs to continue.

Newsmakers at the GeekWire Gala

We’ll be recognizing Ben and Emily Huh and more than 20 other Newsmakers of 2011 during the GeekWire Gala, Dec. 8 at the Great Hall at Seattle’s Union Station.

The night is also a celebration of “Geeks who Give Back,” recognized in a special GeekWire 2012 Calendar that will be given to attendees, with a share of sponsorship proceeds going to the Child’s Play charity.

Tickets available here for the event.

Thanks to sponsors Zillow, BingFilter and Barokas for helping to make it possible.

Contact Rebecca Lovell, rebecca@geekwire.com, for sponsorship opportunities.

  • http://blog.calbucci.com/ Marcelo Calbucci

    I couldn’t agree more with this choice. Ben is a phenomenal entrepreneur, and behind that dressing style and funny business, there is an extremely talented businessman. Congrats Ben, you deserve this and a lot more!