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How Those Editors-Turned-New Media Entrepreneurs Are Doing

A roundup.

Vanessa Voltolina By Vanessa Voltolina
10/10/2008 -08:34 AM

So far, 2008 has been the year of going it alone. We've seen a myriad of editors and assorted big media executives venturing out to pursue dreams of grandeur in their very own new media startups.

To review: Harry McCracken stepped down as PC World editor in May to launch; Rieva Lesonsky, former Entrepreneur editor, left to begin SMB Connects; former New York Times Hollywood reporter Sharon Waxman left the company to launch something called the Wrap News, an entertainment Web site; ex-AOL exec Lewis Dvorkin has been quietly working a news aggregation site; and Prescott Shibles [pictured], new media vice president at Penton Media, left to begin his own startup, Vital Business Media.

But since their departure from the "traditional publishing" world, where are they now and what can we expect from their new ventures?

Shibles, for one, told FOLIO: this week he has raised "less than $5 million" in angel financing to get VBM going and continues to look for additional financial partners. Once the site goes live, he hopes to launch two more verticals by mid-2009.

While online metrics are only so telling (and accuracy hard to come by), McCracken reported monthly traffic "in the hundreds of thousands of page views" in the first six weeks after launching.

Waxman's site, set to go live in January 2009, will use the closing $500,000 that she acquired in the first round of funding for the online presence in early August to get the ball rolling. Dvorkin also reported receiving undisclosed early-stage funding for his news aggregate site in early August.

And what can Rieva Lesonsky expect from her startup venture? While still up in the air, the answer may soon be: legal fees. After launching SMB Connects, a network that puts small business together with government agencies and organizations, Entrepreneur magazine filed a lawsuit against Rieva, alleging that the former editorial director stole confidential information - namely, its franchise ranking concept, known as the Franchise 500. So much for imitation being the highest form of flattery.


Vanessa Voltolina By Vanessa Voltolina --

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