Michael Arrington, founder of the influential TechCrunch blog, is in the process of raising a $20 million fund to back early-stage start-ups.
Arrington, who also acts as the site’s editor, will use the CrunchFund to invest in young tech companies, but only alongside other venture capital firms.
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AOL, which bought TechCrunch for an estimated $30 million last year, is contributing around $10 million to the fund, after relaxing its rules on the outside interests of certain sites in its network.
Arrington, who has previously invested in a fund that gave money to YCombinator-backed start-ups, has faced questions in the US over the potential for a conflict of interest.
TechCrunch, which covers developments in the Silicon Valley start-up community, commands around 3.5 million visitors a month, with the fortunes of many businesses significantly boosted by receiving coverage on the site.
However, Arrington told the New York Times that any of his investments won’t influence editorial coverage on TechCrunch. He said that he was stepping away from his role as editor, with the site set to appoint a new managing editor.
“I don’t claim to be a journalist,” Arrington told the New York Times. “I hold myself to higher standards of transparency and disclosure.”
The CrunchFund will generally plough $25,000 to $500,000 in promising early-stage businesses, alongside other investors.
Arrington, a former lawyer who also runs the popular TechCrunch Disrupt business conference, launched the site in 2005.