Sarah Lacy, an author and veteran journalist (most recently with TechCrunch) is launching PandoDaily, a daily technology news blog focused on startups and the startup ecosystem. The name for the site comes from a colony of trees in Utah called, Pando Trees. Though spread across 43 hectares and weighing 6000 tons, the colony’s interconnected root system is the inspiration for this new site and Lacy is focusing on the startup ecosystem.
Lacy has roped in former colleagues – Michael Arrington, M.G. Seigler and Paul Carr for the new site as guest columnists. Farhad Manjoo, a columnist for Slate and Fast Company joins the group of writers who will write what Lacy calls “exclusives, edgy opinion posts, stellar product analysis, insightful people and culture stories and *real* breaking news.” She has also hired a couple of other bloggers for the new company and is in the process of hiring folks to help her with sales and organizing events.
The company is being funded by a $2.5 million investment from some of the most well known investors in Silicon Valley and some of the top seed funds. Investors in PandoDaily are — Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Tony Hseih (Zappos), Zach Nelson (NetSuite), Andrew Anker, Chris Dixon (FounderCollective), Saul Klein (IndexVentures), Josh Kopelman (First Round Capital) , Jeff Jordan (ex-CEO, Open Table) and Matt Cohler (ex-Facebook & Benchmark Capital) – who are all investing as individuals. The seed funds investing in the company include the CrunchFund, Greylock Discovery Fund, Accel’s Seed Fund, Menlo Ventures Talent Fund, Lerer Ventures, SV Angels and Ooga Labs.
Lacy left TechCrunch and believed that selling it to AOL was a mistake. She says she doesn’t plan to sell this company and if she does, then she will have failed. In a blog post on her new site, she writes:
I’ve never been one of those people who just wanted to start a company for the sake of starting a company. I was more than happy to spend life writing about them. I’d thought about starting a blog in the past, but ultimately decided it would be more fun to work with Mike and Heather to make TechCrunch even bigger. We didn’t agree on everything, but I always felt TechCrunch got the important things right — things like giving a crazy founderthe benefit of the doubt that his plan might work and things like flatly calling out bad actors in the ecosystem.
So this fall, when AOL violated the promises not to meddle in TechCrunch’s affairs kicking off an exodus of talent and a subsequent decline of page views, I got a lot of very kind job offers. But I knew I had two real options: Stay and help put the pieces back together or and leave and start something that I could decide not to sell to AOL.
To do the former, I would have to get over everything that had happened. And I knew I couldn’t do that. And the idea of starting something new — starting with a clean sheet of paper, surrounded by great advisors and knowing with everything we’d learned at TechCrunch– was so intoxicating that in the end, that was the biggest reason I quit.
And while we might compete with PandoDaily for stories, as a fellow entrepreneur I am excited for Sarah. I am glad she made this move into entrepreneurship. I have watched Sarah go from being a reporter for a local business newspaper in Santa Clara to a writer for Business Week and then an author of multiple books before ultimately finding her true voice at TechCrunch.
Good luck with the journey, Sarah!