Do blog networks need VC money?

Looks like our mesh conference in May might have stirred things up a little in the blog network marketplace, to judge by a recent post from Jeremy Wright. Jeremy is part of b5media, a multi-national blog network with principals in Australia and Canada (Jeremy lives in beautiful St. Stephen, New Brunswick), and in an earlier post about the schedule at mesh being finalized he mentioned that he was particularly interested in the keynote by Infectious Greed blogger and VC advisor Paul Kedrosky and a panel on whether Web 2.0 startups need VCs or not.

Jeremy said he was interested because “b5media is about to announce we’re going after funding.” This set off a small bombshell, it seems — and a cross-continent one at that. Paul Montgomery of Tinfinger wrote about it, and so did The Blog Herald and alarm:clock. John Evans, who runs a British-based blog network called Syntagma Media, also wrote a post about how b5media was going after VC money, and he gave the impression he didn’t think that was a good thing to do.

He wrote that:

“After a buccaneering but bootstrapping beginning, it seems b5media has decided to go down the venture capital route after all, with a round of VC funding. But you have to read between the lines of a Toronto conference agenda to find the reference.”

He goes on to say that he’s not in favour of this approach because:

“The sheer effort involved in raising money… and the complexity of contractual arrangements, deplete your time and energy which should be concentrated on selling value to customers.”

In Jeremy’s post in response (he also responds to John Evans in the comments on Syntagma’s blog) he says that b5media.com is looking at a couple of offers, but he doesn’t want to get into it in public.

“Yes, in the last few weeks 2 key opportunities have come our way. Opportunities that we’ve decided to open the door to, to see what’ll happen. We’re not going to put the business on hold. We are not going to chat the way we do business day to day. Yes, we’re looking at the funding options available to us (including early stage, obviously) in order to see what makes sense for our bloggers, readers, partners and the future of the industry.”

Sounds like plenty of fodder for some interesting discussions at mesh — and just to add one final plug, tickets are going quickly so get in there and get one. Or two. Or 12.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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