VentureBeat Gets Funded

Journalist Matt Marshall raised $320,000 for VentureBeat, a technology blog he launched during fall 2006 after leaving The San Jose Mercury News, according to a regulatory filing.

The money comes from former Google executive Aydin Senkut’s Felicis Ventures, early Google employee Georges Harik and Mark Sugarman’s MHS Capital Partners. The company’s Series A financing included a total of seven investors.

Marshall declined to comment at this time, saying he would post information about the financing on his website soon.

The money comes as VentureBeat appears to be losing readers. Data from web traffic analytics company Alexa.com – which can be volatile and inaccurate – suggests that the percentage of daily page views VentureBeat.com gets has decreased over the past year. Data from Compete.com, an Alexa.com competitor, suggests that VentureBeat’s readership may not be falling, but that the number of visitors each month may have hit a plateau over the fall.

The site met with a particularly warm initial reception when Marshall left his job with the Mercury News in 2006. He had written a popular blog called SiliconBeat for several years and was able to carry over many of his readers to his new domain. In fact, Marshall’s fans swamped his site with traffic and overwhelmed his servers within several hours of VentureBeat’s launch.

Marshall’s move to go solo had been on his mind for some time before he left the Mercury News. He saw his Pulitzer-prize winning father forced into early retirement at the LA Times several years ago. “It was an indicator that there’s real change going on in the newspaper industry,” he says.

He is not the first journalist to receive venture financing for his company. Om Malik received an undisclosed amount of funding from True Ventures in 2006.

VentureBeat has written about several of the companies backed by the company’s own investors. It is unclear if VentureBeat will disclose those relationships now that it has raised money from those investors.

Update: Matt Marshall wrote to me to say “I definitely do have a comment on your point about stats. They’re wrong!” Marshall says his audience is growing.

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9 Comments

  • FYI, Alexa says pehub.com has been nosediving since September. Compete indicates loss of readers too. Are you both tanking or could it be…neither of you are? :-)

  • Thanks for your comment Gabe. I don’t know what the traffic numbers for PEHub.com are, so I can’t answer your question.

    The inadequacies of Alexa.com’s traffic rating service are well documented, as I mentioned in my story.

  • Yup, Alexa and Compete both suck. peHUB numbers are up, with January being our best month on record.

  • FYI, I’m seeing the same thing: record traffic yet declining Alexa, Compete. My snarky point is: for sites like Venturebeat, the uncertainty is so high, it’s just not worth pointing out. I think Compete, etc. can be useful (particularly when there are no alternatives, which is often), but only for larger sites, and still with an understanding of all the caveats.

  • [...] off the information superhighway roads.  This news is a victory for technology blogs everywhere. SPHERE IT! Categories: VentureBeat Leave aComment [...]

  • Matt Marshall is the biggest jerk in Silicon Valley. He’s a liar. The public secret is that everyone used to kiss up to him because he was at the SJ Merc. Now he’s a laughing stock in the Silicon Valley community.

  • Interesting discussion, everyone :)

    Silicon Valley Girl, care to elaborate?

  • Okay folks, just a quick reminder about PEHub’s comment policy:

    We don’t edit comments that go up or pull down negative comments.

    Still, we encourage people to adhere to the rules of civility.

  • Alexander:

    Great insights, and as a daily reader of Marshall’s work at Venture Beat, I am happy to see him getting a fresh infusion of juju. I also am looking forward to the work of his co-workers going forward. Congrats, Matt & Co.!

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