How MG Siegler's blogger past will help, and possibly hinder, his new career as a VC.
Twenty-nine year-old tech blogger MG Siegler is making the move from journalist to venture capitalist, agreeing to join his former TechCrunch boss Mike Arrington at the recently-formed CrunchFund. Siegler was in London last night, so I sent him a few questions via email. Here's the back-and-forth:
Fortune: In his TC post about you leaving, Erick wrote that a bunch of firms had been recruiting you. Was the interest mutual (i.e., were you interested in becoming a VC, absent of Mike/Crunchfund)?
Siegler: Yes. The talks started out as just friendly chats at first, but over time, it became clear that the idea of me becoming a VC was appealing to all sides. CrunchFund came into play later, but the timing was right as I said throughout the entire process to all parties involved that I wasn't likely to make a move before the fall. But yes, I would have become a VC either way.
What do you bring to CrunchFund that it doesn't already have?
A different level of deal flow that neither Mike or Pat have access to. One of the issues for me with writing that has been creeping up over time is that I've become close friends with a lot of entrepreneurs in key startups in the tech space. You can argue about whether or not that should be disclosed, but the more pressing issue was information I had access to but couldn't divulge because it would be a breach of trust in a friendship.
The flip side is that these great entrepreneurs know and hang out with other great entrepreneurs. Had I been an investor the past few years, I think I would have been a pretty damn good one.
I'm fairly tapped into a younger generation of entrepreneurs that are still up-and-coming in many ways. I don't mean that to sound predatory in any way, just that I'll be able to see a lot of interesting deal flow — the truth is that I already do.
How has being a tech blogger trained you to be a VC? How might it have harmed you (i.e., what may you have to relearn/unlearn)?
I've gotten very good at filtering. At TechCrunch, we would see hundreds of pitches a day -- we could not do them all. We had to choose the best. Everyone has their own ways of doing that, but generally I would use my network to both vouch for certain entrepreneurs or just see what startups my friends were talking about.
In terms of what I may have to "relearn", I guess I'd say the difference between a "hot" company and a "good" company. That is to say, the difference between a company that will make for a good story, versus one that will make for a good business. I'm not too worried about that distinction, but it is something I've thought about.
Are you a co-equal GP with Mike and Pat?
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