Somewhat lost in all the hubbub over whether or not Mike Arrington would be allowed to stay at TechCrunch was the fact that he’s been handed $20 million and told to turn it into many millions more through startup investments.We know he’s a great blogger, but will he be any good at picking startups?
History suggests he will not.
Prior to starting the CrunchFund Arrington dabbled in angel investing and his record was not very good.
But, let’s not forget that Bill Belichick once coached the Cleveland Browns and stunk. He got a second crack as the head coach of the New England Patriots and now he’s in the conversation as the greatest coach of all time.
So, will Arrington follow in Belichick’s footsteps, or will he burn $20 million? Read on to see for yourself …
Mike Arrington invested in Seesmic in November 2007. How has it affected his coverage of the company? According to Seesmic founder Loic Le Mur, it hasn't. He says Arrington has been pretty hard on Seesmic, and told his writers not to cover every little bit of news about the company.
What about the investment, though? Frankly, it's not looking so great right now. Seesmic started as a video aggregation site, then became a Twitter client, and is now trying to become CRM software. The company hasn't gained much traction to date, but maybe this latest incarnation will deliver Arrington a return on his small investment.
Back in September 2006, Arrington participated in a $1 million round of funding for Dogster, a social network for dogs. Dogster was recently sold to Say Media for an undisclosed amount. Probably not a home run investment.
In May 2007, Arrington joined Ron Conway and a few others to invest in MC Hammer's startup, DanceJam. CrunchBase summarizes it as 'a social media destination where users hang out and watch people dance, learn how to dance, or show off their moves online.'
DanceJam was later sold. No word on price.
Omnidrive was a smart idea: You would be able to upload, download and edit files from your web browser. But, as they say ideas are worthless, it's all about execution. Looks like Omnidrive couldn't execute because it went out of business on September 15, 2008, two years after it raised an angel round of funding from Arrington, Jeff Clavier, Aydin Senkut, and Georges Harik.
In 2009 Arrington said he was going to divest himself of his investments in startups (which he we don't think he did -- at least, not in the case of Seesmic) and he was going to stop investing.
After he sold TechCrunch to AOL, he decided to start investing again. How are his new companies going to do?
If you need a task done, and you're willing to pay for it to get done, Zaarly will connect you with someone. The startup is competing with TaskRabbit, which does pretty much the exact same thing. Zaarly has gotten plenty of favourable coverage on TechCrunch, but so has TaskRabbit.
Other investors besides Arrington: Felicis Ventures, Lightbank, Ashton Kutcher, Paul Buchheit, Bill Lee, and Naval Ravikant.
Supyo, according to TechCrunch is 'Chatroulette -- but done right.' It's being built by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, the guys behind Napster, and much much more.
Other investors include: Founders Fund, Michael Parekh, and Don Dodge.
The man behind Digg now has Milk, which is going to develop mobile products. TechCrunch reports Arrington joined an impressive list of angel investors with this investment:
'Ron Conway, Tim Ferriss, Dave Morin, Philip Rosedale, Evan Williams, Shervin Pishevar, Joshua Schachter, Anthony Casalena, Ashton Kutcher, Philip Kaplan, Chris Sacca, Gary Vanyerchuk, Tony Hsieh, Chamath Palihapitiya, Matt Mullenweg, Don Dodge, Matt Williams, Tony Conrad via True Ventures, and Rob Hayes.'
Arrington is in good company with his investment in Likealittle, which seems to be like Craigslist's missed connections. It lets you flirt with people around you.
The other investors: 'Andreessen Horowitz, Paul Buchheit, Ron Conway, Scott Cook, Saar Gur, Matrix Partners/Josh Hannah, David King, Ashton Kutcher, Yuri Milner, Shervin Pishevar, Brian Pokorny, Keith Rabois, Naval Ravikant, David Sacks, Scott Weiss, and John O'Farrell.'
Namesake looks like Tumblr, and it says it is the 'easiest way to discuss what you love - live.' We're not sure what that means, but it's backed by Kleiner Perkins, Redpoint Ventures, Atlas Ventures, and Paul Kedrosky as well as Mike Arrington.
GetAround won TechCrunch Disrupt back in May. It's a peer-to-peer car rental service. If you don't mind letting strangers use your car, you can rent it out to them. Think of it as AirBnb for cars, if that helps.
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