As longtime TechCrunch readers know well, Michael Arrington co-founded TechCrunch and Crunchbase, as well as the venture fund CrunchFund, which was later renamed Tuesday Capital. But In 2017, Arrington announced that he was shifting gears and becoming a full-time crypto investor, and despite a volatile ride since, he isn’t looking back, seemingly. As he said during an interview late last week from his new home in Miami, “I like reinventing myself and I think more people should do that.”
On the heels of a new fund announcement last month, we decided to catch up with Arrington to learn more about the hedge fund firm he has been building in recent years with longtime business partner Heather Harde; longtime investor-entrepreneur Ron Palmeri; and Ninor and Ninos Mansor, brothers whose crypto firm merged with Arrington’s Arrington XRP Capital in 2019.
Our chat has been edited for length and clarity below. You can hear that longer conversation here.
TC: You recently moved to Miami. Why?
MA: I visited Miami earlier this year for the first time in a couple decades and was here just for fun on a vacation. Part of it might have been that it was one of the first times I’ve been out and social since COVID. Part of it might just be it’s actually wonderful here in the winter. I think it was February when I came. But we just fell in love with the city and got to know the mayor, got to know some people here. A lot of my friends, particularly from New York and San Francisco, had already moved here, and it just felt very welcoming. The city’s government seems to care about its citizens and wants them to be happy, or at least not explicitly trying to make them unhappy. So we came back to look at houses a couple times [and] moved here pretty quickly.
A number of venture firms have recently relocated to Miami — is there a kind of Sand Hill Road forming anywhere?
What I’ve learned so far is that there are three areas of Miami that people live in. The first is downtown Miami, which is very centrally located and where business gets done. Another area south of that is where all the schools are, and it’s more suburban, and that’s where we live. The last area is Miami Beach where all the fun happens.
If you’re a young entrepreneur, just trying to figure out where you’re going to make your mark, they all seem to be located downtown. A lot of the really wealthy entrepreneurs are in Miami Beach, and then people who have kids are generally down south.
Is the process of meeting with founders any different in Miami than in California?
Since I’m doing crypto now, it’s still a lot of Zoom meetings with Asia and Europe and Russia and all over the world. But there are a lot of in-person meetings here. I’ve already been to a few events here. It’s very much like Silicon Valley was in 2005 when I was starting TechCrunch. It’s a small community, people are very [helpful to one another].
People who haven’t followed your career might wonder why you veered so directly into crypto when you did.
I started it just because it was new and I like reinventing myself and I think more people should do that. I think a lot of people become very good at something, and then keep doing that, and stop exploring the world. Even though some VCs I know are multibillionaires, they just keep doing [the same thing]. And it’s like, well, you’ve made all the money, why not just explore something else?
My career has always been a series of reinventions. TechCrunch was one of those reinventions. So for me, this is just the next step. And I’m 50. Now, I plan on doing this right now for the rest of my career, but we’ll see in five or seven years if something else takes my fancy.
When you announced your first crypto fund, there were some twists. It was a hedge fund, not a venture fund, and it was denominated in the crypto currency XRP, created by Ripple Labs. Why hitch your wagon to XRP, and what is your relationship with Ripple…