It’s official: Elevation Partners has announced the resignation of Marc Bodnick from the high-profile private-equity firm, just a couple days after VentureBeat first reported his impending departure.
While Bodnick hasn’t commented on his plans, he’s widely understood to be joining Quora, a highly valued question-and-answer startup founded by former Facebook employees, in an unspecified role.
Elevation cofounder Roger McNamee made the following statement:
“Marc has made the decision to leave Elevation to pursue new opportunities. Over the years, Marc has made many contributions to the firm, and he leaves behind a healthy portfolio from Elevation’s first fund. We wish Marc continued success in the future.”
Let’s parse that, shall we?
Sponsored by VB
From what we’ve gathered, Bodnick felt frustrated that there wasn’t much work for him at Elevation. Elevation sought permission last year from its investors to extend the fund’s investment period, during which it could make new bets on companies. It’s now permitted only follow-on investments in its current portfolio. It has talked about raising a new fund, but it hasn’t yet. And it’s not clear whether investors will want to back Elevation without Bodnick on board.
So Elevation is now, in essence, winding down its first $1.9 billion fund, which had duds in its investments in Forbes Media and smartphone maker Palm, an as-yet unproven bet on local business reviews site Yelp, and a major win — at least on paper — in Facebook, whose shares have more than tripled in value since Elevation cobbled together a stake in the social network.
That’s what Bodnick “leaves behind,” in McNamee’s telling words.
It appears that Bodnick wanted to get more involved with Quora, while maintaining a role with Elevation — and a lucrative payout from management fees and, potentially, its positions in Facebook and Yelp.
So it’s interesting that McNamee cited Bodnick’s “many contributions” — since, according to Dan Lyons in the Daily Beast, McNamee and Bodnick feuded over exactly how much Bodnick deserved from the fund.
It’s worth noting that McNamee has several interests outside Elevation, including serving as executive chairman of a startup, Wordnik, and playing guitar in a band, Moonalice, which toured for 87 days in 2010.
And Elevation’s most famous partner, Bono, is the lead singer of U2.
If Bono and McNamee can manage $1.9 billion and handle their musical careers, why couldn’t Bodnick help Quora explore some deeper questions, like how the startup is going to justify its $87 million valuation?
It’s a moot point: With Elevation announcing Bodnick’s resignation, his career there is clearly done. The only question left to answer: Will Bodnick get what he thinks he’s owed?