If you want to understand the power structure of Silicon Valley these days, look no further than question-and-answer site Quora’s $50 million round.
Josh Hannah, the venture capitalist at Matrix Partners, told me that from his firm’s side, the deal was done in “days, not weeks.”
Quora cofounder Charlie Cheever called Hannah on a Friday early in May. Hannah presented the investment to his partners a week ago, and agreed to the terms the next day.
Hannah’s firm was the only investor in Quora’s second round of financing without ties to Facebook. The round was led by Facebook investor and board member Peter Thiel, and the rest of the investors were former Facebook executives (including Quora cofounder Adam D’Angelo, who put in his own money). The deal reportedly valued Quora at $400 million.
How did Hannah get his in? Cheever had sought out his advice when the former Facebook engineer was thinking about starting Quora—before Hannah had even joined Matrix Partners. Hannah is known for having relaunched eHow, a website for how-to information, and sold it to Demand Media. He became an enthusiastic Quora user.
In fact, he says, he’s probably a more active Quora user than any of the other investors in this round. As a result, Hannah told us, he had “a high degree of context” about the site, which helped make the investment decision a snap.
He’ll have to battle for bragging rights with Quora executive Marc Bodnick, who was recruited to the site from private-equity firm Elevation Partners after he became obsessed with asking and answering questions.
READ MORE >> Josh Hannah’s thoughts on the deal.
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