Crunchbase reports that Crunchfund has 144 investments in 123 companies to date. They include ByLiner, Tumblr, AirBNB, Redfin, Path, Uber, and Yammer. Of 24 exits, one has been via IPO and the rest by acquisition.
Arrington and Benioff talk about Salesforce’s $100 million venture fund, wearables, Benioff’s commitment to improving education in San Francisco, why his name is on the city’s new children’s hospital, his approach to politics, and Apple’s product launches.
The company has invested well more than $100 million in startups…we do seed funding, Series A, B, C, D, we invest in this thing called the cloud, we do a lot of investments in mobile, social, connected devices, we have a great group…and their returns are pretty incredible.
He says the company is very interested in founders that build on its platforms, and will take them to its customers and bring them to its shows.
Arrington and Kalanick talk onstage at Disrupt San Francisco about Uber’s scrappy reputation, global growth, and Plouffe’s role as campaign manager. Arrington:
A guy like you shouldn’t even have a car.
I haven’t driven in a while.
Arrington drops the suit after Allen withdraws her allegations. Both parties disclose that neither of them paid each other any money. Arrington’s lawyer, Eric George:
This is a complete vindication for Michael.
Arrington talks with Whisper co-founder Heyward and Botha from Sequoia Capital about Whisper’s business model and impact, whether celebrity gossip counts as whistleblowing, and whether CrunchBase should be spun off from AOL. Heyward:
Whisper is all about creating a place of authenticity and a place of openness
Arrington talks onstage at Disrupt NY with the show’s creators, Judge and Berg, and cast members Middleditch and Miller about parody, real Silicon Valley cameos, and research for the show. Miller:
I think I saw Peter Dinklage, but it was just Tom walking around on his knees
Arrington interviews Union Square Ventures’s Wilson at Disrupt NY about Google’s potential for evil, uses for blockchain protocols, and the New York startup landscape. Wilson says that in 2020, the top three internet companies will be:
Google, Facebook, and one that we’ve never heard of
Why’s Apple gone?
They’re too rooted to hardware…and they don’t have anything in the cloud to speak of
Altman says in an interview with Arrington that Hacker News could be worth $500 million if sold, but he says that it is worth more to Y Combinator than to anyone who would potentially want to buy it. He adds:
Intermediate valuations are completely made up and silly.
The second CrunchFund is reported to have a first close of $25 million. AOL has renewed its investment from the initial fund, but it’s not clear if the venture capitalists who participated in the original fund plan to return. Arrington declines to comment to Fortune magazine.
An SEC filing shows CrunchFund is in the market for a second fund. The document suggests a $40 million ceiling but CrunchFund is reported to target around $30 million.
The magazine profiles Arrington including a Berkeley talk where he discusses women in tech, how TechCrunch has a female CEO and almost half its employees are female, how the blog started, and Allen’s sexual assault allegations against him. Arrington:
Women in my world are respected as much as men.
Arrington interviews Zuckerberg at TechCrunch 40:
If you take all the people in the world and all their friends, that’s the social graph…What we try to do at Facebook is model that
You’re trying to mirror the real world?
Arrington and Conway discuss the NSA at Disrupt 2013. Arrington talks about issues like seizing encrypted data and hacking phones:
We see what is happening with the NSA, the NSA is strong-arming these companies that are part of our ecosystem…why have you sat by for six months and not done a thing to stop this?
I absolutely agree that we have to balance national security, there was this thing called 9/11, the government’s responsibility is to protect… You have to balance that with responsibility… Obviously the events of the last 60 days with the NSAs says that there has to be a balance between national security and transparency.
He says there is a healthy debate and he is focusing on other issues – civic engagement, gun control, and immigration reform:
I’m probably not going to be the tech leader who heads that…right now immigration reform to me is probably more important
Arrington and Salesforce CEO Benioff talk about the influence of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Salesforce’s financials, and how the cloud and social segments are supporting the enterprise software industry. Benioff:
Salesforce.com just had an incredible quarter with 30% growth, in not just the top line but in great numbers on cash flow. To see a company that is going to do more than $4 billion in revenue this year and is still growing at 30% is something in our industry that hasn’t been seen in a long time
[…] smear the plaintiff’s name on the Internet, to destroy his reputation, and to deter third persons from associating with him.
It alleges that Allen, who lives in San Francisco, was motivated by frustration over their ‘intermittent romantic involvement.’ The amount of damages sought isn’t specified but the figure is over $75,000.
The fund has deployed just over half its capital, and the internal rate of return (IRR) is 20%-30%. It is reported to be in the very early stage of pre-marketing for a second fund, having reached out to just a few of its 61 limited partners, including AOL. Armstrong is due to sit down with Gallagher later in the month.
Kutcher and OSeary talk about A-Grade, and confirm that the fund has raised money at a $100 million valuation. Kutcher:
Yeah, that’s true.
On the amount raised:
Kutcher says they are bundling existing investments and formalizing them in the fund, and are heavily focused on social products like Airbnb and services-based companies like Zaarly.
Arrington and Kutcher exchange banter onstage at Disrupt NY. Arrington:
I’ve never gotten to interview you without getting told to f-ck off
You always say something that deserves a good ‘Fuck off’ early on
My favorite movie that you’ve been in … Dude Where’s My Car was funny
Arrington interviews Conway, Lee, and Pokorny about where the innovations are in tech.
I would actually say in the last 12-18 months ideas are bigger, bolder, more ambitious…
Those include things like drone companies, and scientific research.
We just in the last six months have [identified] two new target sectors to invest…education and the internet of things
He says the company is looking at ‘hardware devices communicating constantly with the web’, and says SV Angel is ‘defining’ the new sector of health informatics.
The basic idea is if you think about the explosion of genomic medical information, all the medical data that is now being digitized…I think there’s now a chance to turn biology itself into a [tech sector]
I’m still bullish on consumer innovation
Arrington and Wilson talk about Kevin Durant, Jim Cramer, and how and how not to pitch a startup. Arrington:
If other venture capitalists are sheep, what animal are you?
I may be a sheep too…We like to think we get out in front of trends but a lot of people in the venture business don’t, they sit back and wait for what becomes obvious and they jump on it.
When people laugh at the company and say that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, that’s a good sign…people who are sheep in the business aren’t going to make a lot of money.
[…] Nor can there be any question as to your foregoing statements’ defamatory nature. Each such statement purports to describe facts that, if accepted by a reader as true, injure Michael’s reputation so “as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.”
Allen posts an accusation that Arrington threatened and abused her.
Last post on someone i’m completely over. I’ve never been lonelier in my entire life. To all my friends who loved me for who I am – thank you. Power hungry people, I loved Michael Arrington for 8+ years starting when i implemented Eurekster search at the time on Techcrunch in 2006 and throughout the years i didn’t know he cheated on me multiple times, then tells people it was me immediately after he did it. It hurts when you love someone borderline and they can’t feel anything at all for you, and threaten to murder you if you told anyone about the physical abuse – all for keeping his reputation. The emotional abuse was equally bad. On a positive note, it can’t get any worse than this and I can’t get myself of this bed.
Arrington announces that he has been ‘unfired’. He says he is not running the blog, and AOL has already killed one post:
So that was new. Being told “no,” that is.
He plans to post a couple of times a week:
There are tons of other venture capitalists writing regular guest posts for TechCrunch already. Just consider me one of those.
Arrington interviews AOL CEO Armstrong at Disrupt SF:
You have tripled the stock price of AOL when everyone, me included, was calling this company dead a year ago. How did you do it?
We basically had a three-pronged approach, one was operationally, you’ve seen us do a lot better, improve and beat expectations the last four quarters in a row, the second thing is really focus on products…the traditional AOL businesses as well as the new businesses [like Disrupt], the third thing was on the financial engineering side, we did a patent transaction, we bought back a significant amount of companies, we did a huge buyback last summer.
He says the company is focusing on consumers, advertisers, publishers, and subscribers, and making sure investors get a high return.
Arrington talks with Zuckerberg at Disrupt 2012 in his first interview after the Facebook IPO announcement. They discuss the stock price, ads, Facebook phone, and the mobile version vs the website. Arrington:
The stock has lost roughly half its value…if you could’ve done anything differently with hindsight?
The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing…We’re going to execute this mission where we’re going to make the world more open and connected
The company doesn’t specify the price but notes market rumors. HootSuite CEO Holmes:
There’s been a lot of speculation on that, but we’re not commenting. Some have guessed in the $15 million range to the low millions, but we’re not releasing the number. However, the more Seesmic users we convert over to HootSuite users, the higher the price will be.
The companies don’t disclose valuation. Seesmic’s latest incarnation, as a social media cross-posting tool, is in line with HootSuite’s business. VentureBeat reports that Seesmic has 30,000-40,000 uniques a month and may be treated as a new product by HootSuite. HootSuite CEO Holmes:
I have always had a lot of respect for Seesmic’s CEO, Loïc Le Meur, and the role Seesmic has played in advancing social business. We are thrilled to welcome Seesmic’s users into the HootSuite family.
Arrington is interviewed by the Redfin CEO for Starter Day. He talks about how TechCrunch got started:
I had no money, and somebody wanted to start a company with me…I started doing all this really formal research and I realized, I’m doing all this research, why not just post it on the internet?
Arrington moderates a debate at LeWeb London between Kalanick and Pishevar of Uber and Valkin and Bregman from the London-based HailoCab app, including on market strategies and legal restrictions. Arrington:
Hailo’s clearly just a cheap knockoff.
Pishevar explains that HailoCab deals only with licensed cabs, and started on Nov. 1, 2011. He says passengers have already booked more than a million miles on London black cabs.
Arrington, SV Angel, Seedcamp, and Hudson River Angels are among investors in the app, which creates composite images from the front and back cameras of a cellphone. The round raises a total of $910,000.
Arrington interviews Conway and Lee at the event. Conway says he is an executive investor in SV Angel and Lee is managing the fund.
But I have a huge vested interest…I get to come in and help entrepreneurs, I get to do what I enjoy
Lee responds to Arrington’s question over rumors the fund is looking to raise $400 million, saying it is looking at investment, but declines to give details:
We are exploring all options
Conway talks with Arrington at the Tech Crunch office to talk about trends in the tech industry.
There’s two big trends that we see that are going to become billion dollar industries, one of them is real-time data which would be Twitter and what we call the real-time ecosystem, which is really any company that employs crowd-sourcing or collective wisdom to create this new corpus of real-time data on the web, which is the most valuable data on the web.
He says Foursquare and Quora are also examples of real-time data, and clarifies SV Angel isn’t invested in Quora. Growth in Facebook and Twitter alone is enough to confirm a second trend:
The other mega-trend is that the web is becoming more social…the phenomenon is that consumers are willing to share more about themselves…this phenomenon is growing to create huge commerce opportunities on the web
Arrington talks with About.me co-founder and CEO Conrad about the product. Arrington:
It’s a simple product on the front…but something about it is compelling
Because it is very simple
He explains that part of the product’s success was because it avoided evolving, as MySpace did by becoming a music sharing site and Facebook did by becoming a photo-sharing platform.
Arrington chats with DocStoc founder Nazar about TechCrunch, his personal life, and mistakes he’s made.
When I worked for other people I always knew I wanted to start my own company.
Arrington acknowledges that he doesn’t know any black tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, despite covering the industry. Still, he says, the industry is based largely on merit:
It’s not a pure meritocracy here [but] you can become very successful based on your brain size and how you use it
Arrington interviews Sun Microsystems co-founder Khosla at Startup Weekend about his view of the venture capital industry. Arrington:
You’re a badass dude in general…and if you don’t mind I’d like to spend most of our talk talking about how badass you are.
Khosla says he doesn’t identify as a VC:
I don’t have a very good view of venture capitalists, I refuse to call myself a venture capitalist…I think I’m a venture assistant out here to help entrepreneurs build companies. I’m not in the VC business because to me that means golf and parties.
Arrington starts a new blog after being removed from TechCrunch:
Now I’ve got a new pen, though. And a blank slate. Infinite choices, I get to choose my own path. All that jazz.
So as William Shatner would undoubtedly ask if I gave him another $149, what exactly am I going to do here at Uncrunched?
I’m going to do the same thing I’ve been doing since 2005. I’m going to write about startups, and the people who build them, and the people who fund them, and the people who use them.
AOL announces that Arrington is officially out of the blog. Arrington:
It’s no longer a good situation for me to stay at TechCrunch. [It’s] a sad day for me.
We love Mike and it was the right, amicable decision that we came to together. We’re super excited about our relationship with him going forward.
Siegler writes on the blog that the uncertainty is affecting its future:
TechCrunch is on the precipice. As soon as tomorrow, Mike may be thrown out of the company he founded. Or he may not. No one knows. And if he is, he will be replaced by — well, again, no one knows. No one knows much of anything. Certainly no one at TechCrunch. This site is about to change forever and we’re in the total f-cking dark. I’ve been able to piece together little bits of information here and there, and it’s not looking good.
Part of the blog’s effectiveness depends on Arrington’s ability to break news, including on companies he is invested in:
Could TechCrunch survive without Mike Arrington? Probably. We’re doing so many pageviews now, and the machine is so profitable, that you can plug in other parts and it will run. But without him, it will not be the same.
Arrington writes that the main issue isn’t his employment status. He says two options have been proposed to AOL:
1. Reaffirmation of the editorial independence promised at the time of acquisition. Given the current circumstances, that means autonomy from Huffington Post, unfettered editorial independence and a blanket right to editorial self determination. To put it simply, TechCrunch would stay with AOL but would be independent of the Huffington Post.
2. Sell TechCrunch back to the original shareholders.
He sets an ultimatum:
If AOL cannot accept either of these options, and no other creative solution can be found, I cannot be a part of TechCrunch going forward.
AOL announces that Arrington no longer works at the blog:
AOL is not comfortable with TechCrunch being used as an access point for deal flow.
He had previously been expected to hold both roles, with investors in CrunchFund saying that deal flow via TechCrunch would be an advantage for the fund.
Greylock’s Hoffman says the blog will give the fund a competitive advantage:
Techcrunch will get some real deal flow from entrepreneurs that we would otherwise not see, because they have established a prominent position as the SV/Tech industry information feed. As many tech entrepreneurs read it — both within Silicon Valley and globally — and view the information news feed to be their target for announcing themselves to the world, Crunchfund will have access to deal flow to these diverse and early stage companies. Some of these companies will be the kind of early stage companies with billion-dollar potential that Greylock invests in.
Arrington says he is confused about his employment situation:
I have no idea what AOL’s final position on this will be. I look forward to hearing it.
Huffington says Arrington is now employed by a business group called AOL Ventures which handles business development in a division of the company that has funded CrunchFund. He retains the founding editor title and is able to write unpaid blogs. He is not paid by TechCrunch, and doesn’t report to TechCrunch editors or to Huffington or other AOL Huffington Post Media Group personnel.
Schonfeld takes over the managing editor role. He is rumored to have been de facto filling the position for some time before the official announcement. AOL spokesman:
[Arrington] will focus on the funds and continue to write
Business Insider reports that among the investors in the fund are AOL, Conway, Milner, Benchmark Capital, Horowitz, Andreessen, Redpoint, and Sequoia.
Arrington starts the fund with $20 million. He will run it with Gallagher and Siegler. Arrington:
I don’t claim to be a journalist. I hold myself to higher standards of transparency and disclosure.
He will take a reduced role at TechCrunch but continue to report to Huffington. Investments will be disclosed on the blog. AOL is putting about $10 million into the fund. Armstrong:
We have a traditional understanding of journalism with the exception of TechCrunch, which is different but is transparent about it.
Arrington writes about a woman identified as EJ who had her Chicago apartment burglarized by people who had booked it for a week using the service:
The event happened, which is a terrible blow to the company’s reputation. The confusion seems to be around whether or not Airbnb will compensate her for her losses.
The blog launches its redesign. Arrington:
We are particularly focused on speed and efficiency. Pages should load much more quickly now than they have, and content should be much easier for our writers to create and publish.
He says the redesign began before the AOL acquisition and has been a ‘big project’.
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