If you are an influential tech media reporting stories about startups and tech companies, can you also run a fund to invest startups? If you are educated in western culture, the answer most likely will be a NO. Media and venture capital, there should be a line between. If the media cross the line, people will argue that those startups invested in by the media would receive preferential treatment, e.g. more exposure. The latest famous example, as you may know, is Michael Arrington, the founder of the famous tech blog, TechCrunch. He is now a venture capitalist in charge of $20million CrunchFund, but the consequence was that he had to leave his job as the chief editor at TechCrunch.
China web, in many ways, is quite different from the rest of world, even in the tech media space. If Michael lives in China, TechCrunch and CrunchFund, will cause no conflict and argument, instead, people may see it a perfect match. Whether or not media can be involved with the investment, well, in China, is not a big deal!
The Founder Magazine, one of the most influential printed media focus on entrepreneurs and startups, is running a fund named Dark Horse fund for early stage investment; they also organize a so-called Dark Horse startup contest via which the best startups can be selected and be invested/co-invested together with other VCs.
The Cyzone Magazine, competitor of Founder Magazine, is the organizer of DEMO China serial contests. Cyzone may not have the fund for investment, but the husband of the founder of Cyzone, is actually in charge of a famous local venture capital called Zero2IPO. So, Cyzone and Zero2IPO always cooperate.
The examples could be many. There is no doubt that these media is producing very good content to educate and encourage local startups, but does this phenomenon seem a bit weird? The thing is, so far everything works well and no one question about it. Well, Michael might be wrong to name its fund as CrunchFund which sounds directly linking to his media TechCrunch, but he is honest, at least he said so, to his readers by giving the disclosure if the startup is invested by him, which is often missing in Chinese media.