Cashmore's site, Mashable, is one of the net's hottest properties and he will become very wealthy if the Time Warner deal goes through and CNN purchases his blog.
He is the internet wunderkind whose technology news website grew into a multimillion-dollar blogs empire from his parents’ home 18 miles outside Aberdeen. Yet most Brits would struggle to recognise Pete Cashmore’s name.
Cashmore founded Mashable in 2005 as a side-project to document the rise of internet giants such as Facebook, YouTube and Myspace, then the world’s most popular social network.
Seven years later and Cashmore’s website has joined the ranks of hot internet properties – in talks about a possible takeover by Time Warner’s CNN. The Banchory-born 26-year-old will become a multimillionaire several times over if the deal goes through, but the exact size of his stake is not known.
Cashmore swapped his Kincardineshire roots for New York in 2009, when Mashable began to attract about 5 million visitors a month and his own profile was also on the rise. Dubbed variously as “the Planet’s sexiest geek” and “the internet playboy“, Cashmore has been the public face of Mashable since its earliest days.
His chiselled good looks were splashed all over early versions of the website, and the offical Mashable Twitter account bearing his face has amassed almost 2.7 million followers – a bigger fanbase than that of Ricky Gervais or his potential CNN colleague Piers Morgan. Cashmore was named No 3 in Forbes magazine’s Web Celeb 25 in 2010, Mashable now attracts more than 12.5 million visitors a month, according to a recent interview he gave.
One former Mashable insider who worked closely with Cashmore for years said that he “works his ass off behind the scenes”. The insider said: “He’s shy, so he prefers to build products over delivering speeches. But make no mistake – he’s tireless.”
The entrepreneur has said setting up Mashable was appealing “partly because it was something I could do in bed and feel like I was achieving something” and “I’m just not good at obeying authority figures”. The startup mentality of Mashable has stood the site in good stead; Cashmore’s site remains one of the most popular technology blogs as others – most notably TechCrunch – have publicly imploded after being bought by a media giant.
Mashable had turned down an acquisition offer from AOL in 2010, the media firm that bought rival websites the Huffington Post and TechCrunch last year, although the CNN rumours suggest that there is enough money on the table for Cashmore to take the chance in being part of an established media group despite his earlier remarks.
The Scot once said his parents first learnt about their son’s ambitious online venture when they were doorstepped at home by a reporter from the Daily Mail. It remains to be seen whether they will learn of his newfound riches in a similar fashion.
• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000. If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly “for publication”.