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Marc Bodnick, the cofounder of Silicon Valley private-equity firm Elevation Partners, is leaving to join Quora, according to multiple reports. (VentureBeat first reported his pending departure yesterday.)
Quora is a hotly watched, much-discussed question-and-answer service that won buzz from the Silicon Valley crowd early on — including from Bodnick, who proudly notes that he’s the service’s 137th user. It also stirred talk of a startup bubble when it raised $11 million at an $86 million valuation last March, in a round led by Benchmark Capital.
What exactly is Bodnick going to do there? It’s our understanding that he’s agreed to join Quora, but without any set title. Fortune.com first suggested he was going to become Quora’s chief financial officer but then backed away after hearing from a source that he might have another role. Sarah Lacy at TechCrunch speculates he might become president or CEO, which seems like a big stretch for someone whose career has been as an investor, not an operating executive.
It’s true that Quora desperately needs a public face. Founders Charlie Cheever and Adam D’Angelo, both former Facebook engineers, are painfully shy, as evidenced by their awkward turn accepting an award at last week’s Crunchies, an event cohosted by VentureBeat, TechCrunch, and GigaOm, which celebrates the best products and startups in the tech industry.
Bodnick did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Benchmark partner and Quora board member Matt Cohler. We did, however, ask Bodnick, Cohler, Cheever, and D’Angelo to answer a question on Quora about how Bodnick was recruited. (Stories about how key employees were recruited to startups are a popular subject on Quora.)
In a way, Bodnick’s leap to Quora is a plus for Elevation Partners, which is in the process of raising a second fund. The remaining partners can spin his departure for a high-profile new job as a positive personal development for Bodnick rather than a negative for the firm. Bodnick was, nevertheless, a key partner who helped secure its investment in Yelp, the local-reviews site, and establish Elevation as a player in the highly valued world of social media after its troubled investment in Palm, the smartphone maker.