Bloomberg LP to test venture capital waters again

Bloomberg LP is expected to launch a $75 million venture capital fund providing the financial information outlet with a window to the fast growing world of start-ups.

The fund will be headed by Roy Bahat, former president of IGN, an
online gaming news site owned by NewsCorp.

Called Bloomberg Beta it will operate as a separate legal entity
from Bloomberg LP, and will be based in San Francisco.

Bloomberg Beta will invest in early stage start-ups (Series A) as
well as seed investment, but can also internally foster projects.
The fund will use parent company Bloomberg LP’s fund to offer
investments on nebulous start-ups, and VentureBeat reported it has already invested
in start-ups Newsle, Nodejitsu, Codecademy, Errplane, and
ProsperWorks.

Codecademy, is a web site that provides online coding tutorials,
and Newsle is a web service launched by Harvard grads which
compiles news activity in social media circles.

In the last month, the company has almost doubled its programming
hours for Bloomberg West, the technology branch which reports on
smartphones, cars, cyber security, and of course, start-ups. Many
of Bloomberg’s technology reporters are based in San Francisco.

The independent venture will focus on start-ups that are
“producing insights from data” and “making the experience of work
better,” according to a news release, reported by
VentureBeat.

Beta’s critics fear the cozy (and monetary) connection will give
Bloomberg an advantage in its reporting, because start-ups could
see investment as a free press pass.

A Bloomberg terminal displays news while traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, May 16, 2013. (Reuters / Brendan McDermid)

Bahat said Bloomberg News, will follow existing protocol on
relationships between companies and journalists, which forbids
the company to cover itself out of self-interest.

“If an entrepreneur wants Bloomberg Beta’s money because they
think they’ll have a higher chance of getting covered by a
Bloomberg journalist, then they shouldn’t take our money,”

Mr. Bahat said on Tuesday.

“We were set up to have confidentiality protections, and we
will only share when appropriate.”

An industry leader in financial information, Bloomberg was
accused of ‘snooping’ when a Goldman Sachs employee came forward
with a complaint the company authorized excessive surveillance of
customers through its data terminal.

The New York Times Company has invested in some technology
start-ups, and like Bloomberg, cite disclaimers when reporting on
firms in which it has an interest. NYT Co lists the
websites on their website and has a stake in WordPress.com, a
blogging website, Brightcove, an online video platform, and
seven others.

Recently Bloomberg ran Bloomberg Ventures, a similar venture
capital project which helped incubate news businesses that could
later be made into Bloomberg products. The investment vehicle is
not currently operating.

Karin Klein, a Bloomberg executive, and James Cham, from Trinity
Ventures, will join as partners on the Beta fund.

This article originally appeared on: RT