August 2021 WordPress News: Automattic Invests $30 Million in Business Email Startup + 4 More Stories

Summer is coming to a close.

As many enjoy the last few days of vacation, Automattic — WordPress parent company — and several others have been hard at work. The WordPress community has a lot to look forward to once fall rolls around – from new products and features to acquisitions and events.

Read on to learn:

Automattic Invests $30 Million in Titan
Newfold Digital Acquires Yoast
WordCamp U.S. Set for October
Automattic Releases Podcasting Theme
TeslaThemes Rebrands to WPRealEstate

Automattic Invests $30 Million in Titan

Automattic has invested $30 million in Titan, an Indian startup that provides professional email services for small and medium businesses. The investment is Automattic’s largest to date.

Titan’s CEO Bhavin Turakhia shared the news on Titan’s website, saying that Automatic’s Series A investment valued Titan at $300 million.

Although Automattic is notorious for its “no offices or email” work policy, at WordCamp India 2021, CEO Matt Mullenweg shared that Titan will play a major role in how WordPress.com handles emails in the future.

Titan hopes to transform email into a more meaningful channel for business communication by streamlining workflows and automating tasks through features such as scheduled send, smart filters and follow-up reminders.

Newfold Digital Acquires Yoast

On Aug. 12, 2021, Newfold Digital announced that it has acquired WordPress SEO plugin Yoast.

Despite the acquisition, Yoast assures its users that it will be business as usual: Yoast will be keeping its product line and retaining its team of 140 employees.

Yoast founder and CPO Joost de Valk shares, “Ever since this Covid pandemic hit, [we felt] that we needed a partner or some more financial backing. Being totally bootstrapped was getting to us. We got risk-averse, and all around us other companies got financial injections.”

Joining Newfold Digital will allow Yoast to create more products and features to further its mission.

Founded in 2010, Yoast is WordPress’s most popular plugin with over 12 million active installs.

WordCamp U.S. Set for October

WordCamp U.S. (WCUS) is returning on Oct. 1, 2021.

WCUS 2021 will be a one-day, fully online event featuring workshops, talks and networking opportunities. The organizers are inviting speakers, sponsors and volunteers to what is going to be the flagship event’s comeback after a year’s hiatus.

Holding the event online is a necessity (and a good call) as the pandemic surges back with the delta variant threatening public health and safety. WCUS 2020 organizers have learned from their experience.

Last year, organizers had planned to meet in person for WCUS 2020. Still, the event was eventually canceled due to stress brought about by the worsening outbreaks and tensions over the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.

Automattic Releases Podcasting Theme

Automattic released Quadrat, its fourth block-based theme, to the WordPress theme directory.

WordPress Quadrat theme
Image Source

Quadrat is primarily designed for blogging and podcasting. As a child theme of Blockbase, it provides what’s currently possible with block-based editing features, with more to come with WordPress’s full thrust for full site editing.

TeslaThemes Rebrands to WPRealEstate

TeslaThemes is now WPRealEstate.

In the official company announcement, WPRealEstate shared that it wants to focus on the real estate theme niche instead of maintaining a suite of products for multiple niches.

TeslaThemes was founded in 2013. It had grown its library to 68 themes before Imagely acquired the company in 2017. In 2020, Nathan Singh acquired Imagely, but Imagely CEO Eric Danzer continued to run the company.

In the recent announcement, Danzer shares, “TeslaThemes has historically tried hard to serve a lot of small niches. For each of those, we were embedding plugin-level functionality in each separate theme. That created a highly complicated product line that’s difficult to maintain and keep up to date. Trying to serve so many diverse needs made it very hard to be truly great at any one of them.”

TeslaThemes decided to focus on the real estate market because its Realtor theme was a success. Danzer also believes that the real estate themes are unique and market demand is large enough for growth.

WPRealEstate Themes

Existing TeslaThemes customers will continue to receive support and access to previously purchased products. They will also receive access to the new WPRealEstate theme and plugin.

Final Thoughts: WordPress News — Automattic’s Titan + 4 More | Aug 2021

Hot on the heels of the WordPress 5.8 release, the WordPress community shows no signs of stopping.

From Automattic investing in a business email startup and releasing another block-based theme to WSUS coming back after a year’s hiatus and Yoast getting a boost, there is so much to look forward to in the next few months.

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Tiffani Anderson
Tiffani Anderson |

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