Apparently, questioning is better than elevating. Or, so Marc Bodnick – co- founder of private equity firm Elevation Partners – would lead us to believe. This week, he chose to leave Elevation Partners to take a position with Quora. The question is why? And, what on earth will he be doing?
According to this blurb on the Elevation Partners’ website, Bodnick was Managing Director and Co-Founder of the company with experience “in large- scale media and consumer technology investments”. He also served at Silver Lake Investment Group, Blackstone Group, and Kroll Associates where “he worked on consulting teams providing advice to clients in situations involving corporate security, kidnap and ransom incidents, and political violence.”
In his tenure with Elevation, Bodnick is said to be responsible for two of the company’s most successful investments: Yelp and Facebook. Elevation invested more than 200 million in both companies last year, and while the decisions were (perhaps, obviously) discussed by many, it is said that Bodnick was the driving force behind both business ventures.
Two questions are on everyone’s mind: Why did Bodnick jump ship? And, what will his new role be at Quora? The first question has been answered by Bodnick himself on, none other than, Quora. In response to the question, “How was Marc Bodnick Recruited to Quora”, Bodnick responded:
“Meeting the founders and using the product were the first steps in my growing interest in the company. I knew Charlie Cheever and Adam D’Angelo through mutual friends”. Bodnick continues, “In early 2010, Charlie and I started talking about policy on the site, and he asked me if I wanted to get more involved with the company. So I started meeting most Sunday nights with Adam, Charlie, and Rebekah. Toward the end of the year, Adam, Charlie and I started talking about the idea of me joining Quora in a more active role…This is a big change since I’ve been an investor my whole life. I start Monday Jan 31 at Quora and it is a super-exciting new adventure for me.”
It is a big change, and while the story Bodnick tells is likely true, one can’t help but wonder what details have been strategically omitted. This is particularly interesting because Bodnick’s sister-in-law is Facebook COO Sherly Sandberg or “Number 2 to Zuckerburg”.
It was originally reported that Bodnick would take over the role of CFO; however, in his response on Quora, Bodnick claims, “It’s a small company, so I’ll take on a variety of roles including product marketing, community, and business operations.” This suggests his exact title is yet to be determined. While there is a great deal of speculation, for social media enthusiasts, there are two points to take from Bodnick’s move.
First, recruiting such a heavy hitter suggests Quora won’t be selling anytime soon and is serious about its growth and expansion. Second, between Bodnick’s involvement in Quora and Sandberg’s at Facebook, there seems to be a trend: when a social media start-up anticipates rapid growth, they recruit a “grown-up”. The question is does bringing in a “grown up” guarantee success for social media sites heading into their adolescence? Only time will tell.