Red Herring is a weekly magazine focused on the business of funding, building, and taking new technologies to market. It also sponsors a number of conferences designed to bring venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and technologists together. It is headquartered in Belmont, California, midway between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, with bureaus in Bangalore, Beijing, and Paris. The print title was relaunched in late 2004 under publisher Alex Vieux and editor-in-chief Joel Dreyfuss.
Journalists include veterans of The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, BusinessWeek, CNET News.com, the Financial Times, Fortune, The Industry Standard, MarketWatch, The New York Times, The San Francisco Examiner, InformationWeek, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The name Red Herring is a reference to the practice of calling a preliminary investment prospectus a "red herring" as a warning to investors that the document was not complete or final. The name reflects the publication's mission: providing a first look at the companies and trends that are shaping the business of technology.
Although not launched as an Internet publication (the commercialization of the Internet was in its infancy in 1993), as one of the leading publications covering high-tech entrepreneurialism in Silicon Valley and beyond, it became a journal of record for the dot com boom. The founders sold stakes in the magazine to outside investors, but as the dot-com bust deepened, the magazine struggled, ceasing publication in 2003.
Later that year, Alex Vieux of Dasar acquired some of the company's assets. In September 2003, Vieux relaunched the Herring as a website with James Daly as Editor in Chief. The first official issue of the relaunched print publication was published in November, 2004.
Ron Conway, of Angel Investors, was an early advisor and board member.
Red Herring launched an event and an Internet division on the same day in May 1995 when Venture Market West premiered in Monterey, California, accompanied by the company's first web site. The Venture Market series (including West, East, South, and Europe) ran successfully until 2001 and were accompanied by other events, such as NDA, Venture, and Herring on Hollywood.
The Internet operation grew steadily and peaked in 2000 when it acquired Stockmaster.com.
Ziff Davis invested $2 million in Red Herring in 1997 for approximately 10% of the company, with Eric Hippeau, then CEO of ZD, joining the Red Herring board. Scott Briggs, a former president of Ziff Davis, joined the board in 1997 as well. Broadview Capital Partners invested $25 million into Red Herring in 2000, with Steven Brooks and Stephen Bachman joining the board.
Red Herring was joined in the late 1990s by competitors such as IDG's The Industry Standard, Imagine Media's Business 2.0, and Time Warner's eCompany Now. It was also compared to Wired magazine and Fast Company.
Hilary Schneider was hired by the board as CEO in late 2000 and succeeded Alden (who had succeeded Perkins as CEO).
Red Herring's revenues reached nearly $100 million with a staff around 350, but contracted in 2001 and 2002. BCP invested in several additional rounds to help stabilize the organization, which went through several rounds of layoffs. Through these financings BCP obtained control of Red Herring and in 2002 put the company through an assignment for the benefit of creditors (ABC), which is a California state process similar to a federal bankruptcy. RHC Media, owned by BCP, bought the Red Herring assets out of ABC and kept the business operating.
After trying unsuccessfully to sell the company, RHC Media decided in early 2003 to cease operations and sell the company's assets. The subscription obligation was sold to Time Inc. and the Red Herring brand, URL, and Intellectual Property (such as back issues and online content) were sold to Alex Vieux of DASAR.
Red Herring re-launched as a web site in the fall of 2003. Red Herring produced several test issues of the print magazine in the fall of 2004 and launched as a full-fledged weekly magazine in January 2005. The magazine delivered 48 issues in 2005 to both subscribers and newsstands and the magazine is now in its second year as both a weekly news publication and a web site.
The May 28, 2007 print issue of Red Herring informed subscribers who paid the "lowest consolidated rates" that their print issues would be cancelled the following week, regardless of time remaining on their print subscription, but that they would have access to the digital (online) issue. Subscribers who paid for a $49 annual print subscription would be required to pay $81.60 for their next annual subscription. New annual digital subscriptions are now offered for no more than $19.95.
According to Valleywag, Red Herring has had trouble paying its bills. The company was evicted from its Belmont office in May and canceled an event in China.
Reporters and editors on staff as of March 2008: Cassimir Medford, Scott Martin, Ken Schachter
Former reporters and editors: Rachel Barron, Falguni Bhuta, Eydie Cubarrubia, Adena DeMonte, John Fitzgibbon, Jennifer Kho, Scott Morrison, Ryan Olson, Kalpana Shah, Marisa Taylor, Mike Cohn, Jennifer Schenker, Laurie Sullivan, Leah Messinger, Wendy Tanaka, Tomio Geron, Alexandra Berzon, Chris Alden, Lawrence Aragon, Bronwyn Barnett, Ryan Blitstein, Richard Brandt, Dan Briody, Lee Bruno, Brian Caulfield, Michael V. Copeland, Kenneth Neil Cukier, James Daly, Nina Davis, David Diamond, Meriah Doty, Katie Fehrenbacher, Michael Fitzgerald, Marc Frochtzweig, Kim Girard, Beverly Goodman, Nikki Goth, Alex Gove, Debbie Gravitz, Alex Gronke, Priya Ganapati, Alexander Haislip, Phil Harvey, Pete Henig, Stephan Herrera, Justin Hibbard, Lisa Kalis, Paul Kaputska, Vishesh Kumar, Kaiser Kuo, Constance Loizos, Robert LaFranco, Julie Landry, David Lipschultz, Thomas Maeder, Om Malik, Emma Mandell, Duff McDonald, Joel McCormick, Niall McKay, Dan Mitchell, Eric Moskowitz, Mark Mowrey, Heather Moylan, Sunshine K. Mugrabi, Rafe Needleman, Jason Pontin, Bonnie Powell, Mark Powelson, Joanna Pearlstein, Michael Perkins, Andrea Quong, Mitch Ratcliffe, Sarah Reilly, Joan Indiana Rigdon, Philip E. Ross, Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar, Jared Simpson, Irina Slutsky, David Speakman, Tom Stein, Dean Takahashi, Jonathan Thaw, Owen Thomas, Eric Wahlgren, Ucilia Wang, Sean Wolfe, G. Pascal Zachary, Blaise Zerega, and Glenn Zorpette.
Former Beijing Office staff: Ellen Gao, Amber Li, Bob Li, Jackie Chen, Rita Yang