A number of prominent tech investors believe that when it comes to startup founders, the media should give them the benefit of the doubt.
Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff explores this critique of tech journalism, made by a number of tech insiders in the wake of a Wall Street Journal expose of a medical startup Theranos and a confrontational interview with food startup Hampton Creek.
The WSJ piece alleges that Theranos, a startup offering quicker and cheaper blood tests valued at $US9 billion, isn’t actually using its proprietary technology in most cases, and is instead relying on the traditional methods.
Many prominent Silicon Valley figures rallied to the company’s defence, arguing that the benefit of the doubt should be given to startup founders.
“I would bet that the real Theranos story is a ton of people working really hard to change medical tests and are close to something amazing,” venture capitalist Josh Elman tweeted.
“The question is only whether they fully achieve that amazing potential and can deliver to the market or if they just remain close.”
Y Combinator president Sam Altman also pitched in on Twitter.
“I don’t know if the WSJ allegations about Theranos are true or not, but always gross to watch people cackle with glee in these situations,” he said.
“New tech is hard. Slam pieces tell one side of a story. I do think Theranos should be more transparent, but people shouldn’t pray for failure.
“Watching the media build up and tear down Theranos feels the same with the sign bit flipped. Little data, and lots of hyperbole, both times.”
Rosoff writes that a well-researched investigative piece identifying many very real and serious problems with a startup isn’t exactly “praying for failure”; this is just journalists doing their job.
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