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.