Former Zillow Group CEO launches tech news site
“It seemed to have all the ingredients for what was likely to be a boom decade in tech,” Rascoff said of L.A. during an interview this week. “But it lacked journalism. And the steady drumbeat of media coverage is a critical component of a vibrant tech scene.”
The new venture will debut on Jan. 27 but has already attracted a hoard of investors. Also, the venture has announced a $4 million seed funding round with participation from venture capital firms such as Comcast Ventures and Maveron.
Rascoff added that he wanted to raise funding from a large group of investors, primarily from Southern California, to give the tech community a stake in dot.LA’s success.
However, Rascoff will continue as CEO. Instead, the position will go to co-founder, Sam Adams, a former financial journalist and strategy consultant. Adams will oversee business operations for dot.LA, responsible for building a sustainable enterprise around events, sponsorships and proprietary data.
The news operation is headed by editor-in-chief Joe Bel Bruno, a veteran of The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.
“We want to be a strong advocate for all the great stuff that’s coming out of Los Angeles and tech and startups,” Bel Bruno said. “But we also want to be the watchdog that looks for the stories that are going to matter for investors, that are going to matter for everyone. No one’s really focused on what matters here. And we’re going to do that.”
Dot.LA will rely on a website, newsletter and stable of podcasts as chief distribution methods. Rascoff also plans to reboot his “Office Hours” podcast, where he interviews founders and CEOs, and will come out with a new season that is L.A. focused.
As of now, the new venture is looking for candidates to fill vacant reporter/editor positions. The company has HQ at a co-working space called Cross Campus in Beverly Hills, with another location in downtown L.A. as a satellite office.