Mikey Tom April 25, 2016
Michael Arrington, one of the first tech journalists to make the jump to VC, isn't listed on CrunchFund’s latest SEC filing for a new $30 million vehicle. His absence from the filing was first reported by PitchBook; Fortune followed up with Arrington and confirmed he will be taking a break from full-time investing for health reasons but will continue to support portfolio companies and lead deals.
CrunchFund was launched in September 2011 to much fanfare and discussion, as it was co-founded by tech blogger Arrington and acted as representation of the blurring line between journalism and investing. "Journalism ethics" was a hot topic that year with Arrington at the center of the conversation, as he was both running one of the most popular tech blogs—TechCrunch—while also actively angel investing. A handful of vocal people in the industry called upon him and his parent company AOL to make a clear statement on their policies regarding journalists also investing in companies they were writing about. That conversation somewhat died as soon as CrunchFund launched and Arrington was ousted (err “resigned”) from TechCrunch and went to focus on investing full time.
This was the beginning of a trend that continues to this day: tech journalists joining the VC firms they used to write about. Ex-TechCrunch writer M.G. Siegler joined GV in 2013; Wired editor Michael Copeland hooked up with a16z the same year; Om Malik, founder of tech blog Gigaom, joined True Ventures in 2014; Michael Carney of Pando joined UpFront Ventures last year; ex-senior editor of TechCrunch Ryan Lawler is now a venture partner at 500 Startups; ex-TechCrunch writer Drew Olanoff joined River Studios, a subsidiary of Rothenberg Ventures, early this year; and the list goes on.
Although Arrington taking a step back from full-time investing doesn’t implicate anything for the rest of the writers in VC, the news serves as an interesting reminder of how two different worlds, editorial and investing, have intermixed since his controversial foray five years ago.