Accel hires Richard Wong, mobile software expert

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wong.bmpSilicon Valley venture firm Accel Partners has hired mobile software expert Richard Wong as a partner, the latest sign of where investors think the action will be.

Wong spent six years at OpenWave, which developed early mobile browsers (WAP), and where Wong worked with mobile companies like Sorrent, Jamdat, Infospace and Motricity in their earliest stages and saw them grow quickly. He oversaw OpenWave’s marketing efforts, and more recently was head of its product division. (Here is his bio.)

The move is significant because one of Accel’s partners, Peter Fenton, left last year to Benchmark Capital. Fenton, a successful investor, focused on software, but not mobile software. Accel’s decision to hire Wong suggests it sees more promise in the wireless broadband going forward, although the firm said Wong isn’t meant to be seen as a direct replacement for Fenton. Wong, 37, worked earlier for Covad, a broadband provider. In a phone call with VentureBeat yesterday, he said he is most interested in latest wave of mobile technology, namely the transition to “rich media,” or AJAX and Flash-based programming, which improves a mobile user’s experience.

It is the latest move by Accel to shore up its staff. After Fenton left, Accel promoted Kevin Efrusy and Ping Li from to general partners. In November, it hired Richard Yanowitch as venture partner.