Drayton gained fame in the last dotcom bubble for starting HomeGrocer.com, an online grocery-delivery service backed by Amazon.com which was once worth $1.2 billion. But his latest Seattle-based venture, Count Me In, which processes membership dues for sports leagues and other groups, is better known for the lawsuits its customers are filing against it, alleging that Drayton took the clubs' fees and used them for operating cash.
Not that Seattle Business mentioned any of this. The editor, Jeff Bond, explains that he and his colleagues were "stunned" when the charges became public, and that the magazine had already been sent to the printer before Thanksgiving, weeks before they learned about Drayton's legal troubles.
What happened to the notion that magazines, thanks to their long lead times, did more thorough factchecking than newspapers and websites? The first lawsuit against Count Me In was filed on November 10, well before the magazine went to press. A search of court records should have revealed it — and turned the publication on to a much better story.
Drayton is currently trying to raise $10 million in venture capital for Arena. Things are not going well, to say the least.
"It sucks beyond all comprehension," Drayton says of the venture environment. "All the venture capitalists are moving very slowly to fund new deals. And this Entellium mess is making everyone move even more slowly. The timing for us raising money couldn't be worse."