Founders Seeking Buyers for SDNN, Local Online News Startup

6/2/10Follow @bvbigelow

The San Diego News Network, or SDNN, which launched a regional news website in March 2009, boasted of rapid expansion plans, and which reportedly raised close to $3.2 million, is searching for a buyer.

SDNN is continuing to publish San Diego news on its website with a reduced staff, according to SDNN President (and former San Diego Union-Tribune online executive) Chris Jennewein in a news item published today by the Union-Tribune. Freelancers were told before the Memorial Holiday weekend they would not be paid for work submitted after June 1, and all staffers at its Orange County website, OCLNN, were laid off. Jennewien says the SWRNN website for Southwestern Riverside County still employs some staffers.

Neil Senturia, SDNN’s founding CEO, and his wife, Associate Publisher Barbara Bry, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment this morning. Senturia had talked ambitiously in September of establishing 40 websites nationwide, and last month, SDNN launched a weekly print newspaper that was intended to circulate in the San Diego community encompassing La Jolla, Del Mar, CA, and the UC San Diego campus. A regulatory filing last August shows the company raised at least $707,000 of a planned $2 million investment round, although one local report says SDNN’s total was $3.18 million.

Senturia told me about six weeks ago that he had discussed licensing SDNN’s technology with top executives at the Union-Tribune, which operates the well-established news site, SignOnSanDiego.com. Senturia told me SDNN’s technology was ideally suited to operate as an interactive community hub and low-cost content aggregator, providing local news, sports, events, lifestyle, and entertainment information. Under a syndication deal with SDNN, Xconomy provides news about local technology and life sciences innovation for use on SDNN’s website.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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