Bustle, which is either a revolutionary new idea to write stuff on the internet that women will read or the ultimate in mansplaining, is out a $100,000 investment from Google Ventures. How this happened depends on who you read.
TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis opened fire last night with the joyful declaration that Google Ventures had pulled its investment out of Bustle because:
Tsotsis added that it was "some sort of karmic reparation," though not all that much of one, considering that Bryan Goldberg, founder of Bleacher Report, raised $6.5 million to start the site despite seemingly knowing very little about women or bustles.
A few hours later, Pando founder Sarah Lacy fired back with a report that Google Ventures did not pull out of Bustle but was bought out by Goldberg, who made a "rookie investor management error" by going to Time Warner for a Series A investment before Google Ventures, which had given him $100k in seed money:
With Bustle and Google Ventures’ relationship strained, other investors suggested Goldberg just buy out Google Ventures’ stake. Goldberg readily agreed and bought out the investment with his own cash. Moreover, our understanding is that, legally, Google Venture could not pull out their investment unilaterally.
Both sites cite anonymous sources. As Lacy points out, TechCrunch's former employee and current contributor (although he hasn't written for the site since January) MG Siegler is a general partner at Google Ventures, which was not disclosed in TechCrunch's report. The implication there is that Siegler was one of TechCrunch's sources.
As for Pando, Goldberg himself is a frequent contributor, often to near-universal disgust and/or mockery. Lacy discloses this early in her piece, though fellow editor Paul Carr points out on Twitter that Goldberg "was a guest poster, never on staff. Hasn't written for months." "Weeks" would be a more accurate word here, as Goldberg's most recent Pando post was in February. That's after Siegler's last post at TechCrunch, if we want to play that game.
Lacy writes that neither Google Ventures nor Goldberg would comment "on the record." Which still means one or both of them commented off the record. Or not!
Bustle and its $6.4 million are currently celebrating International Women's Day.