Sure, as TechCrunch put it, one path into venture capital is to wait for a partner to die.
Another way, as TechCrunch has also shown us, is to be a journalist.
Ryan Lawler is the latest journalist to join the venture capitalist ranks. He’s leaving Tech Crunch to go to 500 Startups.
While Lawler said that he doesn’t think “TC to VC” is actually a thing, we’re not so sure. Here’s a quick list of journalists who quit to invest in the industry they covered:
- Michael Moritz, a famous venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital, is the grandfather of the journalist-to-VC trend. He entered the industry in 1986 after a stint at Time Magazine covering Apple. He invested in Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and PayPal and is investing in companies like Instacart and Stripe today.
- Stewart Alsop was editor in chief of InfoWorld before he joined New Enterprise Associates in 1996 and then later launched his own firm, Alsop Louie Partners. Between the two firms, he has invested in Tivo, Glu Mobile, Sonos, and Twitch.
- Om Malik, founded tech blog Gigaom in 2006, then joined True Ventures in September 2008 . He continued to write for the site though until he became a full partner in February 2014, stepping away from all of his work at Gigaom. The site shut down earlier this year. (Disclosure: I worked there.)
- Esther Dyson started as a researcher at Forbes, then became a tech industry analyst. In 2004, EDventure Holdings business, which included a tech conference and the Release 1.0 newsletter, to CNET Networks. She left CNET in 2006 and has been an active angel investor, with investments in more than 50 companies, including 23andMe, Flickr and Square.
- The originator of the “TC to VC” thing, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington launched CrunchFund in 2011 after he’d been making investments along the way.
- TechCrunch writer MG Siegler joined CrunchFund alongside Arrington in 2011 as a general partner. He’s now a partner at Google Ventures where he’s invested in Periscope, Medium and Slack although he wrote a column for his old site through August 2014.
- A former co-editor of Mashable, Ben Parr launched the #DominateFund in 2012 to bring in Hollywood celebrities and executives as investors. A year later, Forbes reported that Parr’s fund had become less celeb-focused and more focused on a viral marketing. Its portfolio includes uBeam and Virool.
- Michael Carney left his post at PandoDaily to sign on with Upfront Ventures as an associate in April 2015.
- Ryan Lawler left TechCrunch in June 2015 to join 500 Startups. At least Lawler is realistic about the market. “Hopefully the bubble won’t burst before I get the opportunity to write my first check,” Lawler wrote in his announcement.
Lawler may have been thinking about what Ben Rooney wrote about Ben Parr in a Wall Street Journal op-ed back in 2012: “When journalists give up their penny-a-line trade and think they are financiers and business executives, you are in a bubble.”