Former Zillow and Hotwire CEO Spencer Rascoff on Monday launched dot.LA, a new news and events company chronicling Los Angeles’ tech and startup scene.
The site, led by L.A. Times veteran Joe Bel Bruno as editor-in-chief, has a reporting staff of seven with experience at the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and other outlets.
“I found that L.A. has all the ingredients necessary for a vibrant tech and startup ecosystem: angel investors, early- and late-stage VCs, private equity, unicorns, big exits, public companies, and great universities. In short, there was much more going on in L.A. tech than I expected,” Rascoff said in his greeting to new readers, noting that he and co-founder Sam N. Adams launched the site with $4 million in seed money.
Rascoff did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the business plan for the site, which does not appear to have any ads on its launch day.
“The tech and startup scene in L.A. is geographically spread out,” he wrote, adding, “Because of its breadth and diversity, no one seemed to have a good handle on the size and scope of the overall L.A. tech scene. There was no town crier to unify the community and to shine a light on it. In short, the missing ingredient was journalism.”
On Day 1, the site has already demonstrated how it will pursue its unique angle throughout larger stories. Leading the homepage is a piece that says, “Kobe Bryant Remembered for His Second Act: Venture Capitalist.” The former L.A. Laker, who died Sunday morning and is often remembered for his contributions to the L.A. area and the game of basketball, spent his post-NBA career as a “venture capitalist” pursuing storytelling projects in Hollywood and beyond.
It remains to be seen how the site will adhere to its tech/business angle, especially in pursuing stories about tech founders and heads who are notoriously media-shy.
We are so excited that dot.LA has launched. LA’s startup scene is absolutely exploding, but until now there hasn’t been a journalistic outlet to cover it,” CEO Sam Adams said. “That’s why we are here.”
When asked how he will keep the editorial rigor when they have to cover a tech leader critically and maybe that leader won’t talk to them after that he said they plan to keep their coverage sharp and unbiased. “It’s a similar problem that all business reporters have, I think,” Adams said. “Yes, coverage of a negative story could have an effect on whether someone wants to engage with your reporters in the future, but as long as we are committed to unbiased coverage that usually works itself out. Our journalists are incredibly experienced (they’ve been at the Wall Street Journal, the AP, NPR, etc.) so have lots of experience with sources and telling unbiased stories.
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