Last November, Robin Wauters, ex-TechCrunch writer and former European editor for The Next Web, launched new tech blog, Tech.eu, with a stated mission to fill the “gap” left for in-depth coverage of Europe’s technology industry (thanks for that, Robin!). But, as anyone in online media knows, content isn’t cheap and for that mission to be little more than hyperbole the new European tech blog on the block was always likely to require investment.
Today that’s happened in the form of a tiny seed round — which we understand is still closing — seeing Tech.eu raise approximately €150,000 from around 11 investors, including Silicon Valley-based Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, Founder Institute founder Adeo Ressi, and a number of prominent European angel investors.
(I’ve included a partial list below, as Tech.eu appears to have been caught on the hop after Belgium newspaper De Tijd published a story this morning. With the round still ongoing, not all investors have been cleared for disclosure. We’ll update this post when we know more.)
In a Skype chat with Wauters (who was a direct colleague of mine while at TC and since as a competitor) I started off by asking him why Tech.eu had decided to take investment?
“We’ve raised a small seed round of funding from angel investors from across Europe and Silicon Valley so we could afford to dedicate some resources to building the best European technology publication we think is possible,” he said.
Specifically, Tech.eu’s raison d’être is data-based analysis, insights, research and “news with context” relating to the wider European technology industry.
“That’s not the easiest path we could have chosen in a world where the conversation about digital publishing these days mostly revolves around page views and revenue-per-click,” adds Wauters. “Rather than chasing fast news and ‘cheap traffic’, we think we can build something of value, but that takes time. Hence why we raised funding – we didn’t want to have to think about getting as much traffic and advertising money as possible from day one, and build a sustainable business that doesn’t necessarily rely on that.”
Of course when a media company takes funding from individuals (or VCs) who invest in the same startups and wider ecosystem that the publication covers, it creates a potential — or perceived — conflict of interest, although it’s not uncommon for tech blogs to raise external funding.
Just this week, Webrazzi, Turkey’s main tech blog, sold a minority stake to Aslanoba Capital, and other local European tech blogs such as VentureVillage and Deutsche Startups are backed by startup investors. (Disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Aol.)
Meanwhile, the amount of funding Tech.eu has taken is dwarfed by Silicon Valley tech blogs, and Wauters says he purposely kept the round small and went for individual investors, who are mostly investing in a personal capacity, rather than VC.
“The reason we’re not raising millions of dollars like several US media startups is because we think we can do more with less, and it also keeps the wall between our investors and anything to do with editorial impenetrably thick,” he said. “We’re building a business, so evidently we’re convinced we can provide our investors with a good return. Beyond that, though, our investors agree that there’s room for serious, data-based tech journalism in Europe, and that we’ve assembled possibly the best team to pull that off.”
That team includes Tech.eu’s other co-founders, who are also entrenched in the industry they cover, such as Microsoft’s Roxanne Varza (who used to edit TechCrunch France) and Techstars London’s Jon Bradford. So in a sense the issue of disclosure is nothing new.
In the end, you have to judge these things on the actual content and, certainly, examples such as Tech.eu’s recent European tech exits report are a welcome addition to the tech coverage in the region.
Here’s a partial list of Tech.eu’s investors, with more to be added as they’re disclosed:
– Dave McClure’s 500 Startups
– Adeo Ressi
– Tim O’Shea
– Doug Scott
– Toon Vanagt
– Cedric Kutlu
– Simon McDermott
– Oriol Juncosa
– Daniel Waterhouse
– Carlos Eduardo Espinal