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Jason Calacanis, January 2012
|Alma mater||Fordham University (B.A.)|
|Occupation||Internet entrepreneur / Blogger|
Jason McCabe Calacanis (born November 28, 1970) is an American Internet entrepreneur, angel investor, author 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 presents at industry conferences worldwide.
Calacanis was born in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, New York and has two brothers. He graduated from Xaverian High School in 1988. He then attended Fordham University, where he received a B.A. in psychology.
As a blogger, Calacanis co-founded the blog network Weblogs, Inc. with Brian Alvey in September 24, 2003, supported by an angel investment from Mark Cuban. Two years after inception, the Weblogs, Inc. blogs 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.
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. During the dot-com boom, Calacanis was active in New York's Silicon Alley community, and in 1996 began producing the Silicon Alley Reporter. Originally a 16-page photocopied newsletter, it eventually expanded into a 300-page magazine, with a sister publication called the Digital Coast Reporter for the West Coast. Calacanis' 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, and New Media. With the end of the Dot-com bubble, Silicon Alley Reporter failed, and the company was sold out of bankruptcy to a private equity firm.
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 on his blog and the Gillmor Gang podcast.
He launched the web directory Mahalo ("thank you" in Hawaiian), which raised $20 million in venture capital from investors including Sequoia Capital, News Corp, CBS, Mark Cuban, and Elon Musk. The company hit a peak of 15 million unique visitors a month and achieved profitability in 2011, but suffered a sharp decline in traffic that year from the Google Panda search algorithm update and shut down in 2014.
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, calling out fees that can range from $1,000 to $8,000 for a single 10- or 15-minute presentation.
Calacanis raised a $10 million fund 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, Calacanis declared his intent to get closer and more involved in the new ventures that emerged from that conference. The level of investment was around $25,000 to $100,000 in five to 10 startups per year.
Calacanis publicly announced in 2018 that he sold all of his Facebook stock, expressing sharp criticism of company CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg on the Too Embarrassed to Ask podcast. He called Zuckerberg "completely immoral" in how he runs the business and said, "No founder should ever sell a company to him."
Calacanis authored a book titled "Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups—Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000" on angel investing published by HarperCollins in 2017.
- Jason Calacanis, Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups, Harper Business, 2017 ISBN 9780062560704
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- Adrianne Jeffries (December 12, 2011). "Pay-to-Pitch Comes Creeping Back: How Much Is Too Much?". Observer. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- Jason Calacanis (October 9, 2010). "Why startups shouldn't have to pay to pitch angel investors". Retrieved August 11, 2010.
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- Eric Johnson (May 4, 2018). "Why did Jason Calacanis sell all his Facebook stock?". Recode. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- 1970-, Calacanis, Jason,. Angel : how to invest in technology startups-timeless advice from an angel investor who turned $100,000 into $100,000,000 (First ed.). New York, NY. ISBN 9780062560711. OCLC 993752430.
- Brown, Eryn (January 2006). "Revenge of the Dotcom Poster Boy". Wired; Conde Nast Digital. Retrieved 2010-06-19.