Sarah Lacy’s new tech news site Pando Daily launches today. Right now, actually.
I remember the first time I met Sarah Lacy in 2006. She was writing cover stories for Business Week at the time, hitting sources hard in the lobby of a San Francisco hotel after a conference (Web 2.0 Summit, I think) had ended for the day and people were streaming out looking for a drink. My first impression of her was, “now that’s a reporter.”
Those were the early days of TechCrunch, when I wrote whatever I felt like writing with absolutely no idea of the “rules.” Guys like Jeff Jarvis, Robert Scoble and Dave Winer were rooting me on, so I was doing something right. And a lot of old school journalists were screaming murder, so that made me doubly sure.
And Lacy certainly oozed old school. Like a black and white movie and she had a press card stuck in her fedora. That crowd usually thought of TechCrunch as the antichrist. But she was also one of the new gang, one of the journalists who really understood what makes Silicon Valley tick, and was always willing to give new entrepreneurs and startups a break. As I began to follow her writing I saw that she had deep access to sources and a sound, logical mind to put together compelling stories. Most importantly, she loved to teach the new writers on the way to get results and write compelling content.
I knew almost immediately that I’d be spending a lot of time trying to hire Ms. Lacy.
Some years later, I did. She was finishing up work on her second book and was looking for a full time writing gig that could accomodate her book travel schedule. We found a way to make it work, and Lacy joined TechCrunch.
She was immediately integrated into the TechCrunch DNA. She was a solid editorial leader, broke huge stories, and had a commanding stage and camera presence. And best of all, she disagreed with just about everything I had to say. We fought like cats and dogs. And she is literally a cat person, while I can stand the evil little predators. Dogs and unconditional slobbery love all the way for me.
When TechCrunch imploded last year and I walked away from the company that I founded, Lacy was in a prime position to take over. She had my and Heather Harde’s support to become editor in chief of the site. The only problem was she was on maternity leave and wouldn’t be returning for a couple of months. So the decision was put on hold as she cared for her son Eli.
Internal strife and power struggles at AOLCrunch meant Lacy would not be accepting that job, although she did return briefly during maternity leave to host the highly successful TechCrunch China event last Fall.
Now, Sarah’s where she’s supposed to be. The star of her own show, Pando Daily. Which launches today. The name is from some tree ecosystem in Utah that has a root system that makes it one big organism. The point is that the trees and the roots are like Silicon Valley. Whatever.
Sarah could call her new site anything she likes and it would still be something amazing and special. She talks about taking the best parts of TechCrunch – the relentless quest for the story that matters most that day, the loyalty to readers and the community, and something else – a competitive hunger that made her want to throw computers through windows when something slipped by her. That was rare, and I never saw her throw a computer, but I know she wanted to.
Much more often, though, Sarah was one (or ten) steps ahead of her competition and not only broke the story but worked it over and over until she’d bled every last drop of blood out of it. I hope to never be on the other end of a Sarah Lacy story, because I get the feeling she’d do anything to get the facts she wants.
Pando Daily has a single overriding goal – to be the paper of record for Silicon Valley. That means every story of importance will be covered with an unbiased look at the facts. Along with a healthy dose of the analysis that you’ve already come to expect from her and the people she works with.
There’s a big void in Silicon Valley right now, and I believe readers are aching for something to fill that void. Pando Daily is going to do that.
She’s raised an amazing round of funding from Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Tony Hseih, Zach Nelson, Andrew Anker, Chris Dixon, Saul Klein, Josh Kopelman and Matt Cohler, all investing as individuals. Also investing are a handful of seed funds including CrunchFund, Greylock Discovery Fund, Accel’s Seed Fund, Menlo Ventures Talent Fund, Lerer Ventures, SV Angels and Ooga Labs.
We’re proud to be investing in Pando Daily. CrunchFund will be very active in this investment, taking a board seat and contributing regularly to the site.
Good luck, Sarah. And Happy Launch Day.