J. Michael Arrington (born March 13, 1970 in Huntington Beach, California) is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of TechCrunch, a blog covering startups and technology news.
Arrington attended Claremont McKenna College (BA Economics, 1992) and Stanford Law School (JD, 1995) and practiced as a corporate and securities lawyer at two law firms: O’Melveny & Myers and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. His clients included idealab, Netscape, Pixar, Apple and a number of startups, venture funds and investment banks. He also co-authored a book on initial public offerings.
In 1999, he left WSGR to join RealNames as VP of Business Development and General Counsel. In 2000, he cofounded Achex, an online payments company, that was later acquired by First Data Corp for $32 million. Achex is now the back end infrastructure to Western Union online.
Arrington worked in an operational role at a Carlyle backed startup in London, founded and ran two companies in Canada (Zip.ca and Pool.com), was COO to a Kleiner-backed company called Razorgator, and consulted to other companies, including Verisign.
Conflicts Of Interest
I am a partner at CrunchFund, a venture capital firm with investments in many startups around the world. I am also a limited partner in many other venture funds which have their own startup investments.
Because of these investments, if there’s a startup there’s a good chance I’m a direct or indirect investor in it. Many times I won’t even know that I’m an investor, because venture funds that I invest in don’t normally share non public information with limited partners.
Also, CrunchFund’s investors include AOL and many of the top tier venture funds.
That means I invest in a lot of startups. And I invest in a lot of venture funds. And a lot of venture funds have invested in me.
I also occasionally own public company stocks. I currently own shares of Facebook. Until recently I owned shares of AOL. I also own other public company stocks through the management of a third party, although I typically don’t know about those investments and they are primarily not in the tech industry.
Sometimes I have so many financial conflicts of interest that I can’t even keep them straight.
So when you read what I write on Uncrunched, TechCrunch or wherever, understand that I’m conflicted. A lot.
How do I deal with this and still write?
I addressed it in one of my first posts on Uncrunched in 2011:
“Here are the things you can expect from me:
TRANSPARENCY: I will disclose, as I’ve always done, all financial conflicts of interest (I have lots and lots of those). I’ll also disclose other conflicts of interest, like friendships, when I can. I know a lot of you don’t understand why I can’t disclose all conflicts of interest. The answer is that if I did, not that many people would want to talk to me in the direct, honest way that I prefer. As a reader you must remain aware of the inherent bias in everything you read, and form your own opinions accordingly. Read this post on TechCrunch and the links for more about how I see the world.
TRUTH: I always try to find the truth in a situation. That unvarnished, pure nugget of truth at the core of every issue that I write about. Sometimes this takes more than one post, and sometimes I have to go back and correct things I’ve gotten wrong. I’ll continue to do that. For more on this, read my post about process journalism.
BIAS: I have lots of it, and I never try to ignore it or hide from it. The main thing to know about me is that I’m a champion of entrepreneurs and the startups they build. They are my rock stars. If in doubt I side with them, and that’s clear from my writing. For more on this, read my ll always disclose the conflict of interest directly in that post.
Today they’ll officially announce that deal – $50 million in new funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Morgenthaler Ventures. And while they didn’t quite get that billion dollar valuation people were whispering about… → Read More
It’s a rare startup that closes a $20 million venture round and doesn’t bother to mention it more more than half a year. But Cloudflare, the almost-winner of TechCrunch Disrupt: SF 2010, did just that. They raised a healthy $20 million last November, on top of a more modest $2.1 million raised in 2009. → Read More
Color Labs Chief Product Officer DJ Patil will soon be leaving the company as a full time employee, we’ve confirmed. Patil, who was LinkedIn’s chief scientist until March, was only with Color for about 5 months. He’ll transition to become an advisor to the company.
Next week we’ll be rolling out significant enhancements to TechCrunch. A new design and a new logo will be the first thing you’ll notice. But behind the scenes we’ve made significant changes to the other end of TechCrunch as well – the admin system that we spend all day typing into. We are particularly focused on speed and efficiency. Pages should load much more quickly now than they have, and… → Read More
One of the questions I had when I broke the news last week about the Facebook/Skype partnership: Would group video chat be part of the product, and if so would it be free?
The answer is no, there’s no group chat. Facebook says that one on one video chat is far more popular on Skype than group chat and so it makes sense to start there. But that’s misdirection – group chat on Skype requires that at… → Read More
Sanaz Ahari, who at 23 was the youngest lead product manager in Microsoft history, has left Microsoft after seven and a half years. Her last job was the Principal Group Program Manager for Bing, and she was part of Brian MacDonald’s core leadership team. She’s 29 now.
Earlier this week while visiting Seattle, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tipped off Seattle press that the company would be launching an “awesome” new product next week that has been built by Facebook’s Seattle team. The press invitations to that event went out today, saying nothing more than “Please join us for an event at Facebook” on July 6.
Well, apparently Animoto is going for it. This jewel of a startup, which lets people easily create professional-looking videos from audio and video clips and pictures, has raised a third round of funding – $25 million in a round led by Spectrum Equity Investors. Ben Spero, a managing director at Spectrum, joined the Animoto board of directors.
Storage startup Dropbox has hired Ramsey Homsany as it’s General Counsel. Homsany is a long time Google lawyer. He joined the company in 2003 and was most recently the deputy general counsel of the commercial group. The 100 or so internal lawyers that reported to him dealt with Google’s various commercial and partnership relationships.
The world is getting a first look at Impermium, a new startup that aims to help sites fight growing user generated spam – spammy comments, hacked accounts and (my personal favorite) fraudulent registrations.
Sounds like a useful service. And the team behind it just makes it more compelling. CEO Mark Risher was known as Yahoo’s “Spam Czar” until he left in June 2010. Joining him from Yahoo are… → Read More
Skype is being criticized for terminating employees immediately prior to the closing of the Microsoft acquisition, and people are assuming they’re doing this to keep the value of those employees stock options. Skype’s response boils down to saying that the employees were fired because they weren’t good employees, and that the value of the stock is negligible and didn’t affect the decision making… → Read More
In 2008 Google’s President of the Americas operation Tim Armstrong (now CEO of our parent company AOL) was pushing hard to get some two dozen advertising processes integrated into a single streamlined system. That project was called Project Spaghetti, and YouTube, which had been acquired in 2006, was a particular problem.
Keep an eye on yet-to-be launched Picadee, a new Seattle startup getting some buzz. The company was founded by former iLike employees Marcus Womack, Mike Bohlander, Ray Fortna and Josh Hepfer, and has taken a seed round of funding from iLike founders Ali Partovi and Hadi Partovi.
The company isn’t saying what it’s doing yet, but this is a team that has performed well together before. They built… → Read More
Interesting story breaking that Yahoo put an unsolicited bid in to acquire Hulu. For all I know it’s completely true. But I’ve just received an unsolicited message from a source close to Yahoo that says it’s completely untrue (probably because of all my digging the last week on this Yahoo story).
Yahoo hasn’t had any meaningful conversations with Hulu about a buyout, says this source. The source… → Read More
Oof, Yahoo. The Alibaba dispute, just the most recent Yahoo trainwreck, is still a fresh wound for shareholders. And things are getting worse.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has long promised a turnaround at the lagging company. But we’ve been digging for new information about the state of Yahoo in advance of the annual shareholder meeting later this week, and everything we’re hearing isn’t good. One… → Read More
Search engine Blekko is pretty excited about their new Zorro launch that I just wrote about. All new design, a move from red to blue links and a general declutterfication is just the shiny stuff on top. Underneath there’s a new web index and they’re really putting those slashtags to work – about 1,000 of them are now auto-added to appropriate results pages.
But enough tech jargon. The proof is in… → Read More
Ok, I got a little over excited in the title. But the new version of search engine Blekko, called Zorro and launching right now, is pretty cool. There have been big improvements visually. Gone are the red links of the previous version along with most of the left sidebar clutter. In fact, that left sidebar is gone and has been replaced with small icons next to search results to tell you what site… → Read More
Evernote is as hot as any startup in Silicon Valley, even if they don’t get quite as much press. Last year they raised $20 million from Sequoia Capital, on top of the $25 million they’d already raised.
The company is profitable with 70 employees, and has revenue of more than $1 million per month. Profitable enough, in fact, that it’s rumored they haven’t spent a penny of that $20 million venture… → Read More
In March we wrote about the launch of Imagine K12, a new startup incubator modeled on Y Combinator that is focused on the education space. It was founded by startup veterans Geoff Ralston, Tim Brady and Alan Louie.
The company sorted through some 200 applications, interviewed 36 startups and made offers to ten startups for the first class this summer. All accepted, took an average of $20,000 in… → Read More
The TechCrunch office pool predicted Vostu would respond to the Zynga lawsuit alleging that Vostu’s entire business is basically to copy every single thing Zynga does in one of two ways. They’d either use the “I know you are but what am I defense,” or just a more straightforward “It wasn’t me” approach.
It turns out they just did both.
Vostu’s statement: → Read More
“Let’s be clear – it is one thing to be inspired by Zynga games, but it is entirely different to copy all of our key product features, product strategy, branding, mission statement and employee benefits lock, stock and barrel. We welcome Vostu into the arena of social games, but blatant infringement of our creative works is not an acceptable business strategy—it is a violation of the law.”… → Read More
New York City Mayor Bloomberg calls for major immigration reform:
The Mayor proposed green cards for graduates with advanced degrees in essential fields; a new visa for entrepreneurs with investors ready to invest capital in their job-creating idea; more temporary and permanent visas for highly skilled workers…The Mayor also announced the results of a study conducted by the Partnership for a… → Read More
Color has been controversial because it raised so much venture capital – some $41 million – and had such a lousy launch reception. The service creates proximity based social networks based on who’s… → Read More
AdMeld, an advertising optimization platform for publishers, has been acquired by Google for around $400 million according to multiple sources. The company, which launched in 2007, has raised just $30 million in venture capital from Foundry Group, Spark Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and Time Warner Investments.