July 21, 2024
From Connie Chan to Ethan Kurzweil, venture capitalists continue to play musical chairs | TechCrunch


When Keith Rabois announced he was leaving Founders Fund to return to Khosla Ventures in January, it came as a shock to many in the venture capital ecosystem — and not just because Rabois is a big name in the industry.

It was surprising because unlike in many other fields, venture capitalists don’t traditionally move around very much — especially those that reach the partner or general partner level as Rabois had.

VC funds have 10-year life cycles and partners have good reason to stay that course. In some instances, they may be a “key man” on a firm’s fund, meaning that if they leave, the fund’s LPs have the right to pull their capital out if they choose. Many partners and GPs also have some of their own money invested in their firms’ funds, which gives them further reason to stick around.

So, while big-name investor moves in venture capital aren’t common, they seem to have become so in recent months. So far this year, there have been notable instances of investors returning to old firms, striking out on their own or taking a pause from investing entirely.

Just today, Vic Singh, one of the co-founders of Eniac Ventures, announced he was stepping down from the firm he helped launch in 2009 to launch his own.

Singh joins a growing list of VCs who have left firms recently.

April

  • On April 30, Ethan Kurzweil announced he was leaving his role as partner at Bessemer Venture Partners after 16 years. Kurzweil will be launching an early-stage-focused investment firm, according to reporting from Axios. Kurzweil will launch the firm with Kristina Shen, who left Andreessen Horowitz after four years on March 29, and Mark Goldberg, who left Index Ventures after eight years last fall.
  • On April 1, Christina Farr announced that she’d be leaving OMERS Ventures, where she has served as a principal investor and the lead of the firm’s health tech practice since December 2020. Farr announced on X that she’d be working on her health tech newsletter, writing a book focused on the power storytelling can have on businesses, and consulting health tech founders.

March

  • After six years as a partner at Accel, Ethan Choi announced that he’d be leaving the firm to head to Khosla Ventures in March. Choi will be focused on growth-stage investing at his new firm and has backed such companies as Klaviyo, Pismo and 1Password.
  • While many of the recent VC moves have been by folks looking to start something new, or take on a different opportunity, not all of them have been. On March 13, Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital announced that it fired partners Jay Zaveri and Ravi Tanuku. Bloomberg reported that this was due to a matter involving raising money for AI startup Groq.
  • Rabois was not the only person looking to boomerang back to an old haunt in this recent rise of investor reshuffling. On March 5, Miles Grimshaw announced that he’d be returning to Thrive Capital as a general partner after serving the same position at Benchmark Capital for three years. Grimshaw originally started at Thrive Capital in 2013 and has backed such companies as Airtable, Lattice, and Monzo, among others.
  • While transitioning from operator to VC is a common career progression in the startup ecosystem, it isn’t for everybody. On March 4, Sam Blond announced he had come to that conclusion and would be leaving Founders Fund, where he had been a partner for about 18 months. Blond said he would return to operating and has held roles at companies such as Brex, Zenefits and EchoSign.

January

  • After 12 years at Andreessen Horowitz, Connie Chan announced she was leaving the firm on January 23. Chan had served as one of the firm’s general partners the last five years and has backed companies such as Cider, KoBold and Whatnot.





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