Spencer Rascoff, who co-founded Zillow and was its CEO for nearly a decade, is the ultimate tech industry insider.
Rascoff’s newest venture then, doesn’t seem like such a leap.
Nearly a year after he left as head of Zillow, Rascoff will launch a news site dedicated to covering the Southern California technology industry, with a focus on Los Angeles. Rascoff introduced the site, dot.LA, in a press release on Thursday. The Los Angeles Times first reported the story.
Calling it a startup, Rascoff said dot.LA just closed a $4 million seed round from a few dozen investors, including, presumably some local tech and venture capital companies dot.LA will report upon. They include: Snap Inc., GeekWire, and Jam City, as well as venture capital firms like Greycroft Partners and Upfront Ventures. Brendan Wallace, co-founder of VC firm Fifth Wall, is an investor; as is Brad Inman, founder of real estate news site Inman; Sean Rad, co-founder of Tinder; and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Rusell Wilson, and his wife, the singer Ciara.
Rascoff told the Times the startup will be “singularly focused on the greater L.A. area, and that focus will allow us to attract an audience and a brand more easily than general interest national tech press.” He added that the “L.A. tech community is big enough and the business community is big enough to support this financially.”
Dot.LA’s revenue model will rely on online advertising, sponsorships and community events, and will not be subscription-based. Rascoff will be the publication’s executive chairman and co-founder, while former L.A. Times entertainment editor, Joe Bel Bruno, will be the editor; five reporters have been hired.
Rascoff founded travel website Hotwire.com, before co-founding Zillow in 2005. He took over as CEO in 2010 and presided over a period of expansion in which Zillow acquired Trulia and New York City real estate search engine StreetEasy, among other companies.
Zillow’s first CEO, Rich Barton, replaced Rascoff early last year as part of a chain of several shake-ups. Since then, Zillow has upped the activity in iBuying, which Rascoff began. [LAT] — Matthew Blake