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.
In a phone interview, Waldorf said he’s very interested in “freemium” business models, where companies give a basic level of service away for free in hopes of getting customers to pay for higher levels of service later on. He’s also mostly interested in online services for consumers and small businesses, and less in the enterprise space.
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 revenues, and was recently valued at more than $500 million. Waldorf worked with Accel on the board of real estate research Web site Trulia.
Past CEOs-in-residence at Accel include Singh Cassidy, who joined the firm from Google in 2009 and left to become the CEO of fashion social network Polyvore in February 2010 (she left that post in September) and Jeff Weiner, who held a similar position at Greylock Partners simultaneously and went on to become CEO of LinkedIn.
Accel has had some big exits lately, including the sale of Diapers.com to Amazon for $545 million in November and AdMob to Google in 2009 for $750 million. It also sold more than $500 million worth of Facebook stock to private investors in November, but still holds a stake in the company. Accel owns a fairly big stake in Groupon, which is expected to go public later this year for up to $15 billion. The firm, long based in Palo Alto, opened a New York office earlier this month.