From small seeds….

Rafat Ali announces at PaidContent that he has taken his first investment from the fabled Alan Patricof, who was early into Apple, AOL, and New York Magazine. The WSJ says it’s under $1 million. Rafat told the Journal that he’ll pull in $1 million this year from ads and events. Rafat is the most amazing reporter and entrepreneur I’ve met online, this side of Nick Denton. It will be good to see him have the resources to expand. The Journal finds a trend here: Om Malik of GigiaOm gets less than $1 million from True Venture Partners and Christopher Carey of gets an undisclosed investment from Mark Cuban. Patricof told the Journal:

Mr. Patricof says niche publications on the Web are a “great place to be,” with lower investment requirements and easier spinoff opportunities than print media. “To start a magazine today would cost a minimum of $15 million to $25 million, and you have to spend through three or four years of losses,” Mr. Patricof said. With blogs, “the economics are a lot better.”

My Entertainnment Weekly went through $200 million before breaking even (not my fault); now it’s a $300 million a year franchise. Weblog companies won’t make that much but they don’t need that much to be successful. After all, small is the new big.

: Patricof says in the Guardian report: “I look at blogs as the hyper-interactive magazines of the future, only with far greater ability to create communities and expand into new areas.”

: See also Ad Age, below.