Google Ventures pulls out funding for Bustle

March 8
8:07 AM 2014

Google Ventures has divested its initial $100,000 investment it gave to women-focused publication Bustle in its latest funding round, TechCrunch reported.

Bustle was founded by Bryan Goldberg, who also founded Bleacher Report. It was launched in August last year. Sources told TechCrunch that Google Ventures took out their support from Bustle after evaluating that their values were not anymore aligned with each other.

Goldberg had received flak when he announced the $6.5 million he received for building what he considered as a unique publication solely for women. The announcement, which the TechCrunch report described as "possibly one of the most tone-deaf things ever published on a tech blog," read, "Isn't it time for a women's publication that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips? What about a site that takes an introspective look at the celebrity world, while also having a lot of fun covering it? How about a site that offers career advice and book reviews, while also reporting on fashion trends and popular memes?"

Critics found fault with the announcement, saying that he failed to research the market thoroughly because there are already other women-focused websites around. These include Jezebel, Rookie, The Hairpin, Bust, Refinery29, Hello Giggles and others, the report said.

A source told TechCrunch that the divestment occurred as part of another unannounced funding round. It was also an uncommon move in the world of venture capital, the report said.

The decision of Google Ventures was not due to the effect of the backlash per se but because the firm's ethical stand were not the same as Goldberg's. Speculation has it that what finally caused Google Ventures to back out were the misogynist comments he made and the way he glossed over the gentrification of San Francisco in a guest post on PandoDaily, TechCrunch reported.

Jessica Coen, one of Goldberg's most vocal critics, told TechCrunch, "Throwing that kind of money at someone who has no real knowledge, understanding or respect for a space is an insult to the target audience." 

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