Yahoo's Weiner to be Silicon Valley's newest VC?

Jeff Weiner, soon to be former executive vice president of Yahoo's Network division, will follow former colleagues into the venture capital business.

In Silicon Valley, like other industry hubs, your next job typically has to do with who you know.

Jeff Weiner, soon to be former executive vice president of Yahoo's Network division, joined the Internet media giant about seven years ago after being recruited by his Hollywood mentor Terry Semel, then-Yahoo's new CEO. Now that Semel is gone, however, it seems that Weiner will make his next move following former Yahoo cohorts into the venture capital business.

Word is that Weiner, a new father, will become an entrepreneur in residence at both Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, according to Kara Swisher at AllThingsD. (Weiner is on paternity leave.) The split role is unusual, say other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs-in-residence, but Weiner has obvious connections to the two venture firms.

Jeff Weiner, executive vice president of Yahoo's Network Division
Jeff Weiner, executive vice president of Yahoo's Network division Stephen Shankland/CNET News.com

At Accel, Weiner would join former colleague Andrew Braccia, a nine-year veteran of Yahoo who--before he left in 2007--headed up its search marketplace. Accel partner Jim Breyer was also an early investor in Yahoo; and the firm is heavily invested in consumer Web companies such as Facebook, Glam.com, and Metacafe.

Greylock also has the Yahoo hookup. There, Weiner knows James Slavet, a vice president of Yahoo's search and marketplace group until 2006, when he joined Greylock as a partner. Greylock is another venture firm concentrated on investments in consumer Internet companies, such as Digg, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Evite.

If Weiner splits his time with both venture firms, it would certainly be unconventional, even by the somewhat loosey-goosey profile of most entrepreneurs-in-residence.

Executives will often join a venture firm to start a new company within six to 12 months after signing onto the organization; and the VC might take an investor role in the start-up, or not. The EIR (as they're known) either comes to the venture firm with an idea for a company, or hatches a plan after seeing a parade of technology start-ups present business plans to the firm. If that career path doesn't pan out, the executive might become a partner with the VC, or an adviser to the firm's existing portfolio companies.

At least one executive has been a Benchmark EIR as long as seven years.

Whatever the case, Weiner will take a breather from the internal machinations of Yahoo, even though he's among company expats.

Jim Lanzone, an entrepreneur in residence at Redpoint Ventures after about seven years with Ask.com, knows the drill.

"Being an EIR gives you a chance to step back and see the world through fresh eyes before striking out into something new," he said. "(That's) important after being so internally focused for so long as an operator at a large company."

 

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