R.I.P. TechCrunch50 as founders part ways


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R.I.P. TechCrunch50.

Jason Calacanis, chief executive of Mahalo in Santa Monica, has split with partner in crime and technology blogger Michael Arrington who will put on TechCrunch Disrupt (the conference formerly known as TechCrunch50) in New York solo. Calacanis will debut his own endeavor, the Launch Conference, sometime in 2011.

Calacanis and Arrington had co-produced TechCrunch50, a showcase for start-ups, for three years.


Arrington said: ‘Sometimes, having more than one bull in the china shop can get a little messy.’

Calacanis said he and Arrington had disagreed on how to split the “not insignificant profits.”

‘There are no hard feelings,’ Calacanis said. The Launch Conference “will be the same exact as TechCrunch50, except I’m going [to] invest all the profits from it in the companies that present,” Calacanis said.

That seems to jibe with the original intent of TechCrunch50, which was touted as an alternative to events such as DEMO, which charges companies to participate. The Launch Conference will take that one step further by investing in companies that are picked to participate.

In an e-mail, Calacanis said he will invest in the companies in the demo pit area (i.e. the runners-up) and the folks on stage. How the money gets split will depend on a number of factors including if the companies are raising money, if they want him to be involved as an angel investor and the timing of the financing. The chunks of cash would probably be in the $25,000 to $50,000 range, he said.

‘I’d like to have the Launch Conference become the best place to not only launch a company, but also raise money for your start-up,’ he said.


And just to underscore how amicable this all is, Calacanis is speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt.

-- Jessica Guynn