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Rafat Ali to Exit PaidContent

Will leave company he founded two years after selling it to Guardian News & Media

PaidContent founder Rafat Ali will leave ContentNext and Guardian News & Media at the beginning of July, the company said Friday.

Ali started paidContent as a blog in 2002, and later added three other sites, paidContent.uk, mocoNews and contentSutra, before the business was purchased by Guardian News & Media in 2008.

In a statement on the site, Ali said:

"After pouring exactly eight years of my life and a lifetime into this, I am leaving ContentNext and paidContent in early July. I will continue to advise the company for the rest of the year.

"For most of you who know me, this isn’t coming as a huge surprise. I have been wrestling with this for months now, and the two-year mark under the Guardian and the eight-year mark since I launched the first site, seems appropriate enough as a closure point."

Since the sale of his company to Guardian, Ali said, "The high of the sale dissipated quickly, and pulling back and hunkering down isn’t fun, much less entrepreneurial. To Guardian’s credit, amidst the mothership’s own perfect storm, they stood by us, and we have survived, though much smaller.

"I am leaving the company while the editorial is still at the peak of its reputation, even though we are half the team we used to be. It really is a miracle."

Ali said he would take some time off to sort through his options, and likely would resurface with "another startup, in a larger media and marketing space." That will be after "the head-clearing trip of a lifetime, for the summer months after I finish here."