Braccia Jumps From Yahoo to Accel Partners
To have spent nine years at Yahoo makes Andrew Braccia an old man by Web standards, even though he is only 31. Now the company’s vice president for consumer Web search is becoming, at his advanced age, a newly minted venture capitalist at Accel Partners. He slipped out of Yahoo a few weeks ago, after having worked there in a variety of jobs since college at the University of Arizona.
Braccia should have enough experience to be a VC, given that he worked all over Yahoo, starting in business development when it was run by Ellen Siminoff and shifting through its Marketplaces division under top executive Jeff Weiner. He ended up running all the business and operations for the part of Yahoo the public knows best and was involved with some of its better acquisitions, including Del.icio.us and Flickr.
Braccia is not inclined to want to ruminate on why he is leaving Yahoo, save for the usual reasons (“I have been there a long time and it was time to try something different,” he said. “I am passionate about entrepreneurialism.”), nor to slam the company on his way out (“They have amazing assets and a great future.”). But he did have some cogent thoughts on what he is going to focus on at Accel, which has some interesting investments in companies like Facebook and BitTorrent.
In the search arena, Braccia thinks there is still a lot of growth for all and lots of money to be made, despite the dominance of Google. “Search is still the axis” on which the Web spins, he said, although he noted that niche areas like social (as in consumer discovery sites like Digg) and vertical search could become more important in time. He’s also interested in the digital-media arena, specifically the aggregation of niche content.
And, like everyone, he likes the online ad space, noting that advertisers still do not advertise at the same levels as the time consumers spend engaged in the medium. This is a topic for a bigger debate, of course: Why is the audience more interested than advertisers? “There is going to be an eventual equilibrium between consumer engagement and advertiser engagement,” predicted Braccia.
At Accel, he will help with its current portfolio, while also focusing on his own bets in early-stage companies, with investments in the single millions, looking to fund those that are built for the long term. “Look at the last two years at companies like YouTube and Facebook, which are so dynamic,” said Braccia. “I think there are some real opportunities.”
In other words, Braccia will not be helping fund start-ups built to flip to acquisitive execs at companies like Yahoo (like Braccia), which have been giving money-laden VCs (like Braccia) a run for their money.
Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.