Jason Calacanis, January 2012
November 28, 1970 |
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York City
|Occupation||Internet entrepreneur / Blogger|
Jason McCabe Calacanis (born November 28, 1970) is an American Internet entrepreneur and blogger. His first company was part of the dot-com era in New York, and his second venture, Weblogs, Inc., a publishing company that he co-founded together with Brian Alvey, capitalized on the growth of blogs before being sold to AOL. As well as being an angel investor in various technology startups, Calacanis also keynotes industry conferences worldwide.
Calacanis's biggest success to date is Weblogs, Inc., which was sold to AOL in 2005. Before forming Weblogs, Inc., Calacanis was founder and CEO of Rising Tide Studios, a media company that published print and online publications. Amongst them was the Silicon Alley Reporter, a monthly paper that featured New York's Internet, Web and new media industries. During the dot-com boom, Calacanis was active in New York's Silicon Alley community and in 1996 began producing a publication known as the Silicon Alley Reporter. Originally a 16-page photocopied newsletter, as its popularity grew it expanded into a 300-page magazine, with a sister publication called the Digital Coast Reporter for the West Coast. Calacanis's tireless socializing earned him a nickname as the "yearbook editor" of the Silicon Alley community. The company also organized conferences in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco focused on the Internet/web/New Media. With the end of the Dot-com bubble, Silicon Alley Reporter failed. The company's flagship publication was folded and the company was sold out of bankruptcy to a private equity firm.
As a blogger, Calacanis co-founded Weblogs, Inc. with Brian Alvey in September 24, 2003, supported by an angel investment from Mark Cuban. Two years after inception Weblogs, Inc. blogs the business was generating $1,000 a day just from Adsense. Time Warner's America Online agreed to buy Weblogs, Inc. in October 2005 for $25–30 million.
Eight months into his tenure with AOL, Calacanis was offered a chance to be the General Manager of the new Netscape website. Calacanis used the model pioneered by Digg, Del.icio.us, and Furl and added an editorial layer to the system, like Slashdot. The project has launched and occupied the front page of Netscape. Calacanis started by hiring a team of eight "anchors" to follow up users' top stories. He then hired some of the top users of social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, Newsvine and Flickr to go to Netscape as Netscape Navigators, which prompted a public debate with Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, most notably during a live taping of the video podcast Diggnation. 
On November 16, 2006, TechCrunch reported that Calacanis had resigned from his position as CEO of Weblogs, Inc. and General Manager of Netscape. Calacanis later confirmed this with a post at his blog.
On December 5, 2006, Techcrunch reported that Calacanis was going to announce his new position at Sequoia Capital as an EIA (entrepreneur in action). Calacanis later confirmed this on his blog. Until May, 2007, Calacanis had a role of “Entrepreneur in Action” at Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital firm, a position he held since December 2006.
Calacanis founded Mahalo.com, a "human-powered search engine", which launched in alpha test in May 2007. During a speech about the site at the Gnomedex conference in August 2007, Calacanis got into a public confrontation with Dave Winer that led to Winer's resignation from the panel of experts for the TechCrunch20 conference organized by Calacanis. Winer interrupted Calacanis' speech during the event, calling it "conference spam" and igniting a war of words on their blogs. "I'm not interested in having someone berate me like this," Calacanis wrote on his blog.
Mahalo ("thank you" in Hawaiian), raised $20 million in venture capital from well-known investors including Sequoia Capital ; News Corp; CBS; Mark Cuban; and Elon Musk. The company's motto: "We're here to help."
As of April 21, 2010, Mahalo had 9.4 million global (5.7 million US) unique monthly visitors, down from a peak of 14.1 million global (7.4 million US) unique monthly visitors, according to Quantcast.
In 2009, Calacanis founded the Open Angel Forum, an event that connects early stage startups with angel investors. The forum was the culmination of a series of public comments by Calacanis questioning the ethics of pay-to-pitch angel forums. Calacanis believes startups shouldn't have to pay to pitch angel investors. Calacanis is also an Angel Investor in Gowalla. Calacanis raised a $10Million fund to for his own Venture investment firm to invest in startups that emerged from the Launch conference. Limited partners in the fund include David Sacks. Following the success of the Launch conference, Mr. Calacanis aims to get closer and more involved in the new ventures that emerged from that conference. The approach of investment is around $25,000 to $100,000 in five to 10 startups per year.
According to The Huffington Post, Calacanis' list of investments includes: Frequency, Blippy, BCKYRD, GDGT, Backupify, SignPost, Datastax, Rapportive, Gowalla, ChallengePost, Chartbeat, ubermedia, Jibe, SmartyPants, StorkBrokers, Thumbtack, CauseCast, ThisWeekIn Savings, FamilyFinds, LAUNCH, Uber, Groundcrew, Belgrave Trust, Hashable and Wanderfly. 
Mr. Calacanis is the founder of ThisWeekIn.com that host of the live streamed "This Week In Startups" on the network. At its inception in 2010, the company raised a seed round of about $300,000 from Matt Coffin, Sky Dayton, and Calacanis himself.
This Week in Startups (also called TWiSt) is a round table format that usually runs over an hour of conversation about the web startup Industry featuring founders, CEOs, Entrepreneurs, Angel investors and Venture capitalist talking about Startups Entrepreneurship and the Web Industry in general.  The show has gained some popularity amongst the Startup community and has attracted some well-known speakers-guests. Mr. Calacanis and a continuous fresh group of speakers-guest that are well known within the Industry, sometimes experts share their stories and thoughts on the Web Industry, their ventures/companies and the trends.  including the LIVE broadcast   on its Main Site and on the YouTube Channel, as well as iTunes/Audio & iTunes/Video. The Friday, December 14th, 2012, Calacanis announced that he will be shutting down his podcast network ThisWeekIn.com. The shut down of the company though does not mean the end of its three most popular shows: This Week In Startups, This Week In Web Design & Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show.
Calacanis announced the creation of the LAUNCH Conference to spotlight unannounced start-ups. The first conference was held on February 23 and 24, 2011, and featured 140 startups. A number of companies received funding at the event and the winners included Room 77 and GreenGoose. The second LAUNCH Conference was held on March 7 and 8, 2012.
During a speech about his company Mahalo at Gnomedex in 2007, Calacanis was heckled from the audience. The heckler was Dave Winer. Winer accused Calacanis of "spamming the audience" with a Mahalo pitch. Winer later reiterated his disdain for Calacanis, stating "It's all about Jason and his investors making money. Why should I care about that?"
Calacanis was involved in a 2010 Internet hoax involving his Twitter postings regarding the introduction of the Apple iPad. In his tweets, he claimed to have a "reviewer's copy" of an iPad device describing in great detail the features of such device. The device in question was not in his possession nor did it exist. It was explained to have been an attempt by Calacanis to expose the hysteria regarding Apple product launches. The hoax also called into question the fact checking and verification processes of the mainstream media who published the hoax story as true.
Founder of the TWiT.tv network, and netcasts This Week in Tech, This Week in Google, This Week in Computer Hardware, This Week in Enterprise Tech and This Week in Law, Leo Laporte, expressed disdain for Calacanis' use of the term "This Week in". Prior to starting ThisWeekIn.com, Calacanis had been a guest on Laporte's show This Week in Tech 29 times, and Laporte reported feeling betrayed, suggesting that the use of the same name was intended to confuse advertisers and viewers.
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