Fortune’s Dan Primack broke the news this afternoon that TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who co-edits the AOL-owned blog, will be raising a venture capital fund for early stage tech startups. Mr. Arrington’s partner will be VantagePoint Ventures Partners’ Patrick Gallagher and investors will include, “many of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms and tech luminaries” (i.e. the sources that TechCrunch regularly covers on its blog.)
Mr. Primack says:
“One source says that the plan is to raise around $20 million. The cornerstone limited partner will be AOL (AOL), which acquired TechCrunch last fall and where Arrington is now an employee. Others will include VC firms like Kleiner Perkins, Greylock and Sequoia Capital.”
While a glowing write-up on TechCrunch can’t make a startup per se, it sure does make a big industry splash, which is why startups try so hard to get the attention of bloggers and editors like Mr. Arrington.
Mr. Arrington, who occasionally participated in angel investment deals before launching TechCrunch in 2005, stopped in 2009 after “being accused one to0 many times of having a conflict of interest,” notes Mr. Primack. But earlier this year, he sloughed off concerns about journalistic impartiality got back on the money side of the bubble-business, backing startups from Napster’s Shawn Fanning and Digg’s Kevin Rose. Although that decision, and the decision to become an LP in venture capital funds managed by Benchmark Capital and SoftTechVC, were in violation of AOL’s code of employee conduct, Mr. Arrington’s new masters issued him an exemption. AOL’s decision to act as an LP in this fund is a pretty good indicator that once again, the company rules don’t apply him.