Business big shot: Arianna Huffington, online entrepreneur

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. From The Times
    November 21, 2008
    Business big shot: Arianna Huffington, online entrepreneur
    Ian King

    Arianna Huffington looks set to cement her position as the Queen of Capitol Hill in the next few days.

    The Times has learnt that the Huffington Post, her influential political website, will confirm within the next week that it has completed a $15 million (£10 million) fundraising from investors.

    The money will finance the expansion of HuffPo, as it is known, into the provision of local news across the United States and into more investigative journalism. And it will ensure that Ms Huffington's influence continues to spread across the US political scene.

    She is a close friend of Barack Obama, the President-elect - who, with Hillary Clinton, has posted on her site - and, at a dinner in London on Wednesday night, joked: “I only text three people - my two teenage children and Barack Obama.”

    Ms Huffington launched HuffPo, which has about 2.5 million bloggers contributing to it regularly, in May 2005 with $2 million of seed capital. She then raised $5 million in August 2006 from venture capital firms including SoftBank Capital and Greycroft Partners, as well as individuals such as Bob Pittman, the former AOL executive. In a second round of fundraising in September 2007, HuffPo raised a further $5 million.

    Ms Huffington, 58, the daughter of a Greek newspaperman, has been turning heads ever since she arrived at Cambridge University in the late 1960s. Then called Arianna Stassinopoulos, she became the first foreigner - and only the third woman - to be president of the Cambridge Union debating society. A lengthy affair with the journalist Bernard Levin raised her profile farther. During their eight years together she wrote three bestselling biographies, including works on Pablo Picasso and Maria Callas, before moving to the US in 1980.

    There, she met and married Michael Huffington, the oil billionaire, becoming one of Manhattan's leading socialites and a champion of the Republican revolution led by Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Her marriage ended in 1994.

    The launch of HuffPo came after Ms Huffington had spent a decade of campaigning for causes such as opposition to the Iraq War, concluding a remarkable political journey from right to left.