Yes, Sarah Lacy's Site Is Called PandoDaily, and It's Launching Today
Does the world need another tech-news site? Ex-TechCrunch staffer Sarah Lacy is betting yes.
Ms. Lacy, who left AOL-owned TechCrunch in November after she was passed over for the head editor position following founder Mike Arrington's departure, is launching PandoDaily.com today. Ad Age first reported the name of the site in December, as well as the fact that Mr. Arrington and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, a Facebook board member, would be among the investors. Mr. Arrington is investing personally and through his AOL-backed venture fund CrunchFund, Ms. Lacy wrote in an email.
Other tech-world heavyweights taking part in a funding round, which Ms. Lacy said will total just under $2.5 million when it closes, include PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh and Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon. PandoDaily also is getting seed funding from Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, Greylock Discovery Fund, Accel's Seed Fund, Menlo Ventures Talent Fund and Ooga Labs, Ms. Lacy said.
So how will PandoDaily stand out in a crowded tech-news landscape? For one, the focus will be exclusively on startups. So don't expect a ton of coverage of big tech companies such as Google or Microsoft, unless the news directly affects the startup world.
"The mission of the site is simple: To be the site of record for the startup ecosystem," Ms. Lacy wrote in an email. "I think it'll be more similar to the old pre-AOL [TechCrunch] than the current [TechCrunch], which covers a lot of big companies. But we want to be more comprehensive than the old [TechCrunch]."
To be more comprehensive, the site will include a curated column of news on the homepage, called PandoTicker, that will include short blurbs about as much of the day's startup news as possible, with one line of analysis and a link out to deeper coverage if the news calls for it it. Ms. Lacy said it's modeled after The Wall Street Journal's "What's News" section.
"[T]he goal is that it's the 30 or so most important stories of the day. Each will link to the best coverage, or whoever broke the story," she wrote. "Hopefully that 's us and it links to a story deeper in the site, but many times it won't be us. We intend to aggressively link to awesome coverage by competitors."
Ms. Lacy said the site will feature contributions from Mr. Arrington, former TechCrunch writer Paul Carr, and current TechCrunch contributor MG Siegler. Slate's Farhad Manjoo will also contribute. Ms. Lacy has hired one full-time writer, and is looking for more.
Ms. Lacy said she is not monetizing the site just yet. There will be ads on the site, and an events business, too, but, in her words, "We have to produce great content first."
As for the site's unusual name, Ms. Lacy said it is a nod to the massive root system in Utah called Pando.
"[T]he interconnected root system is the oldest living organism in the world and no matter what happens above ground, it always shoots up more trees," Ms. Lacy wrote in an email. "[I]t's the perfect metaphor for the startup ecosystem, which is what we will cover."
PandoDaily's parent company will be called PandoMedia.