MyKinda, Blog Network For Eastern Europe, Launches Amid Serious Drama

Lee Wilkins, a British entrepreneur living in Romania, soft launched a new eastern-European blog network this morning called MyKinda.

The network currently has blogs in just Romania, Bulgaria and Russia, but Wilkins says he’ll be launching in ten more eastern European countries soon, and eventually will cover the whole region. Each country will have six blogs, each one focused on a single topic: business/media, culture, lifestyle, politics, science and tech/gadgets. The blogs will be written in local languages, and English translations of most blog posts will be made available on separate blogs.

Bloggers are being paid a flat fee for their work – a base pay of €300/month with bonuses for longer and more frequent posts. The company is being bootstrapped right now, and Wilkins is looking for angel funding.

MyKinda v. Blognation

MyKinda is similar to blog network Blognation, a UK-based blog tech-focused blog network founded by former TechCrunch UK writer Sam Sethi (Sethi did not leave TechCrunch amicably, it should be noted). There is some seriously bad blood between Sethi and Wilkins, though.

Wilkins claims to have thought up the original idea for Blognation, including the name, and brought Sethi in as a partner earlier this year after spending €30,000 in out-of-pocket costs. Something led that partnership to dissolve, however, and the two started a very public feud. In one email string the two were making serious threats to each other. Unfortunately, the email string included two partners from London based Index Ventures, Danny Rimer and Saul Klein (Blognation was trying to secure funding from Index). On that string, which was forwarded to me, Sethi actually said he would kill Wilkins when he kept threatening to sue:

Will you fucking leave Danny and Saul out of this what have they got to do with this or I will come on the next flight and fucking rip your head off. If you have a grief it is with me and tristan. They are very busy people you idiot. Add that to your lawyers list and send over the docs asap pls.

Thanks in advance

Needless to say Index didn’t invest in Blognation.

Sethi does not dispute the email or that there is an ongoing issue between him and Wilkins, but he did note that there were two sides to the story. He declined to give his. In any event, Sethi moved forward with Blognation without Wilkins.

Blognation, meanwhile, is apparently having trouble making payroll to its fairly large staff. In an alleged email to writers over the weekend, he assured them that a $4 million round is coming and that he will be covering payroll via his personal account:

Not avoiding email or skype. Just trying to fix the interim problem of delayed transfer from VC as fast as I can which meant I was in London all day yesterday and offline. I have arranged an overdraft against my own assets to cover the shortfall so everyone can get a interim payment and have organised a call with the VC’s for the team next week to hear it from the horses mouth. (details to follow)

In the past two VC’s have let me down (TAG and New Media Spark) and this third one is now already on the board of blognation and have assured me the transfer is happening “it is a process” and just slower than they expected. I wish there was a magic wand to make this happen quicker. There is not. Please email, skype, call me if you need to know more anytime this weekend.

So the good news is that Blognation may be securing funding in the near future. The bad news is that those investors may be stuck in the middle of some pretty serious litigation between Sethi and Wilkins.