Gideon Yu, the former CFO of Facebook who left two years ago to become a partner at Khosla Ventures, is leaving venture capital to become the chief strategy officer of the San Francisco 49ers. “The drama of being a venture capitalist isn’t really for me,” he tells me. But he insists, “I am absolutely not leaving tech.”
Yu will remain on the boards of Square and Meebo, and says he works one day a week at Square. He wants to remain active investing and helping startups, but not as a full-time venture capitalist. One option was to become an affiliate partner, but that didn’t work out. Instead, he plans to keep investing his own money as an angel investor. The rumor in Silicon Valley is that he left Facebook with stock worth $500 million. He won’t comment on his net worth other than to say that he made more than he ever thought he would.
Gideon is not universally loved. All it took was a few phone calls to hear rumbles that he was actually pushed out of Facebook and that perhaps the same thing is happening again. Certainly, he can’t seem to hold onto the same job for more than two years, and I’ve heard there was a campaign to actively block him from investing in Foursquare because of his reputation. “I am not pretending that I am a saint or everubody likes me,” he says of all the backbiting. “But there are definitely haters. I just try to add value where I can.”
The truth is that it is just not that much fun to be a VC at a firm with a $1 billion fund who needs to put large amounts of capital to work when web startups simply don’t need that much capital. And there are plenty of angel investors and seed funds willing to give them less money. In some ways, Yu is a casualty of the changing structure of the venture capital industry.
Gideon is currently a General Partner at Khosla Ventures. Previously, Gideon was the Chief Financial Officer of Facebook, where he led the $375 million investment round from Microsoft and Hong-Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing at a record $15 billion valuation. Before that, Gideon was a Partner at Sequoia Capital, and was also the Chief Financial Officer at YouTube where he negotiated its $1.65 billion sale to Google amidst a highly competitive auction for the company. Prior to YouTube, Gideon...
Khosla Ventures is a venture capital firm started in 2004 by Vinod Khosla, Co-Founder of Sun Microsystems. The firm focuses on environmentally friendly technologies in addition to the traditional venture areas such as the Internet, computing, mobile and silicon technology arenas.