Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Another VC Is Born: Well-Known Internet Exec Ben Ling Joins Khosla Ventures


Ben Ling, a longtime Silicon Valley angel investor and Internet exec, has joined Khosla Ventures as a new member of the investment staff.

Ling is the second hire of high-profile operating execs by Khosla. Former Square, Slide and PayPal exec Keith Rabois — who is a close friend of Ling’s — joined the firm in February.

In an interview today, Ling said he has been contemplating his next move, and the idea of becoming a VC after years of operations was appealing.

“I thought a lot about the ability to have impact across a broad set of companies, and was attracted to Khosla’s model of venture assistance,” said Ling, who added that he will focus a lot on the mobile ecosystem. “When I was younger, I thought it would be fascinating to be an investor, and here I can help a lot of companies grow and scale.”

Ling is a former Google and Facebook product exec, as well as an active investor in 80 startups, including such high-profile ones as Fab.com, Square and Quora. He was most recently COO at Badoo, but left the company last fall.

At Google, he worked on search, YouTube and local products, and was closely linked with former Googler Marissa Mayer, whom he followed internally when her responsibilities shifted there. Many thought he might next pop up at Yahoo, where she is now CEO.

Not so, but also not a surprise; Mayer provided Khosla with a lovely statement about Ling: “Ben is an amazing entrepreneurial leader and has a great eye as an investor for both talent and ideas. I’m excited to see him join Khosla Ventures to find and foster the next set of entrepreneurs who will define the technology world.”

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google