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August 12, 2013updated 29 Jan 2014 5:01pm

Tech website relaunches with editor wanting it ‘to be The Spectator or The Economist’ of the sector

By Louise Ashwell

Technology website The Kernel is set to relaunch under new owners, four months after mounting debts forced its closure.

Founder and editor Milo Yiannopoulos told Press Gazette the site has secured financial backing from technology investment entrepreneurs Berlin 42.

The Kernel was forced to shut in March after former editor Jason Hesse won a lawsuit against the title’s parent company, Sentinel Media, which could not afford the £16,853 of unpaid wages it owed him. According to The Independent, Yiannopoulos privately settled debts amounting to £24,000 to six former employees and freelancers in April.

Launched in November 2011, the site often courted controversy over its combative editorial tone. It was criticised for some of its articles, including one headlined "Put a sock in it you dickless wonders” about the number of women at tech conferences.

However, at its peak, the site claimed to attract 140,000 unique users a month.

But Yiannopoulos told Press Gazette that the new-look Kernel would offer a less aggressive style.

"We’ll be less needlessly vindictive," he said. "Before, we were vulnerable to charges of punching downwards, not upwards.

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“I want The Kernel to be The Spectator or The Economist of tech, appealing to educated laypeople as well as those within the industry."

He added that other technology titles had failed to fill the space that The Kernel had left behind.

“If Wired UK had fulfilled its promise, there wouldn't be much space for us, to be honest. It's astonishing to me that there's nothing like us, with intellectual credibility and good taste, out there, given that technology is such a pervasive subject.”

The new site will employ six full-time staff and, according to Yiannopoulos, will cover a wider range of subjects than its predeccesor.

He said: "There’ll be less on start-ups, and instead a broader remit, looking at the place of technology in space, sex, death, money, and so on”.

The site's relaunch is scheduled for 3.30pm this afternoon (12 August).

When up and running, the site will host a number of new features including product reviews and video content. However, its subscription newsletter, The Nutshell, will not be making a return: “It was too focused on the London tech scene, and because there were a limited number of people interested in gossip, we inevitably reached a ceiling." 

Yiannopoulos is a former tech writer for the Telegraph, but he said he has no ambitions to return to the national press: "I've been fired more times from more publications than I can remember. I guess I just don't survive well in big organisations. You'll find a lot of entrepreneurial types with stories like that."

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