VentureBeat Launches

Welcome to VentureBeat •the successor to SiliconBeat!

VentureBeat’s mission is to provide news and information about private companies and the venture capital that fuels them. People are at the heart of this project. VentureBeat will be a resource for entrepreneurs and other interested professionals facing some the biggest decisions of their careers.

VentureBeat will focus initially on Silicon Valley, and gradually, when possible, expand to cover innovation hubs around the globe.

Dear friends,

On Friday, I will serve my last day at the San Jose Mercury News and will no longer be blogging at SiliconBeat. VentureBeat has become my sole occupation and focus.

My Mercury News colleague Michael Bazeley and I launched SiliconBeat.com almost two years ago, in an effort to respond to the new reality of online media. The blog began as an experiment, taking up an hour or so of my day. Soon, it became much more: Baze and I found ourselves spending several hours daily on a blog that was supposed to be outside of our day jobs at the Merc. Baze, showing more sanity, pulled back from SiliconBeat and has taken a job managing the Mercury News’ Web site. For me, SiliconBeat continued as a labor of love, a way to filter the goings-on of this fascinating place we call Silicon Valley. Yet I was doing too much. So I approached the Mercury News, and told them I wanted to go out on my own.

To my delight, the Mercury News has become my first customer. It will syndicate the content I produce here. It has the right to run it in the paper, and to put it on their Web site. For me, it is a great deal. The Merc is the valley’s paper of record. It is my first read in the morning, and what I do here at VentureBeat is linked with the Merc’s mission. Like most of the people at the Merc, I care about the community in a broader sense. That is why I’m covering things from a geographical standpoint, as opposed to an industry niche.

You as my readers are the core of that community. Through your encouragement and daily comments of support and rebuke • it comes in all forms • you have spurred me to spread my wings. You are the ones I serve and listen to as I experiment going forward. I will strive to supply the same insights as I did at SiliconBeat, my fear is that I may lose some of you. I will have to focus. This will be a place only about private companies, the technology they are pushing — and the shenanigans they face as they launch from a seed idea, get funding (if they need it) and either flame out or join the ranks of sustainable companies. While readership counts, and is valuable for advertising (which pays my bills), quality is paramount: I’d rather have a core of very interested, loyal readers, than a wider, promiscuous one.

Here are a few more details about the site.1) You will see on the left hand side, a column of hard news about the Silicon Valley start-up world. I will link generously to other news sources, when possible. Think of it as my opinion of what ranks as top news VC/start-up news of the day. You can bookmark this link separately, or subscribe via RSS (see RSS button on homepage at bottom of the wire).

2) In the middle column will be my own discussion of the news as it unfolds, where I hope to provide my own insights, and cover major milestones, just as I did at SiliconBeat. You can bookmark it here, or subscribe via RSS (see RSS button on top right of homepage). If you already have the SiliconBeat feed, you will continue to get this main VentureBeat feed. (Note: Some of the basic news items will move to the column of hard news, discussed above.)

3) On the right will be contributors, with insightful opinion • this is the place where we will try to provoke and debate. Anyone can be a contributor. I will solicit contributions from people, but am open to suggestions. If you know of anyone with a good idea, let VentureBeat know. The main targets will be entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, though other start-up professionals will be considered. I will hold a high threshold. Readers will have a chance to comment, too, and we will hold the more popular ones longer on the front page. These contributions will show up in the main RSS feed, but can be bookmarked separately here. Finally, beneath, we link to the other threads going on in the blogosphere.

4) On the far right and elsewhere will be advertisements (ahem, none yet). I am independent, and will avoid taking direct payments personally from companies or people I write about. Advertising will be a large part of VentureBeat’s income. Anyone willing to sponsor VentureBeat contact FM Publishing to place ads. I will be grateful, and I have given a free hand to FM Publishing to work with advertisers on proper wording that makes sense for this site.

5) We will continue to tinker with our direct “unfiltered news” submission feature. We’d kicked it off at SiliconBeat, but we’re trying to decide where to feature it on this site. For now, you will find a “story tips” link on the top of the homepage to submit upcoming releases or story ideas.

Finally, a word of thanks to everyone who has given me feedback and support on this project. They know who they are.

Of them all, Thor Muller, a Web application specialist at Rubyred Labs, stands out. He conceived this site’s design with me in the early days, and developed it patiently even as I went way over budget. He’s been outstanding — offering everything from business strategy savvy, to knowledge of obscure Web code. I can’t thank him enough.

Matt Marshall

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