According to BusinessInsider, Accel Partners has hired Greg Waldorf, the founding investor and most recent CEO of online dating site eHarmony, as the venture firm’s CEO in residence. Waldorf will work with Accel’s portfolio companies to identify new ventures that could define their categories. Waldorf was eHarmony’s founding investor in 2000, and was appointed CEO in 2006. The privately held company is profitable with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. eHarmony has $1 billion in revenues? Try around $200 million.
Remember that eHarmony raised $110 million. At a $500 million valuation, thats only a 5X exit for a top-10 site that basically invented the “serious dating site” category.
Sounds like Waldorf stepped into the CEO role and stuck around to protect his investment after a few previous CEO’s didn’t make the cut. After a few years he saw that that eHarmony was stuck in third gear and decided to move on. Traffic dropped from around 6 million monthly visitors to 3.5 million in the past year. Regardless of the exact numbers, Eharmony traffic is way down and thats not good.
Waldorf’s move is similar to what ex-Match CEO Jim Safka did at IAC a few years back when he moved to CEO of Ask.com while running Primal Ventures, a new-venture entity that identifies seeds and incubates business opportunities for IAC. Entrepreneur/CEO-in-residence positions are all the rage at VC funds these days, nice place to land after steering the Good Ship eHarmony for five years.
Waldorf likes walks on the beach, smooth jazz, freemium business models and consumer-facing internet companies.