Andreessen doesn’t need to worry about Ning

Matt Bowman · March 16, 2010 · Short URL:

Co-founder can’t help but make a killing, regardless of executive shuffle.

 By now you probably know that Gina Bianchini, the very visible CEO of white-label social network platform Ning has left the company and been replaced by COO Jason Rosenthal.

The reasons for the move remain shrouded in mystery, but it appears that Bianchini left of her own accord, in order to spend time with her family. Rosenthal told PE Hub that “as she looked at what we needed to do to scale the business and what she was looking to do in her own personal life, I think she felt good about handing over the reins to the team she’d put in place.” Bianchini’s penultimate tweet before her departure was about choosing family over work:

“So bummed to not be at #SXSW with the crew but with my family in town this weekend - family comes first :-)”

Normally, the resignation of a startup’s CEO would constitute a disaster for investors, but Ning cofounder and angel investor Marc Andreessen stands to make an incredible return, almost regardless of what happens to the company.

Ning has raised a whopping $119 million of venture capital, after initial investments from Andreessen and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. The last fundraising round, a $15 million infusion from Lightspeed Ventures that valued the company at $750 million, implied that Andreessen and Hoffman’s initial Series A purchases had appreciated at least 35X, according to Lorenzo Carver, CEO of research firm Liquid Scenarios.

“To put that into perspective,” Carver wrote us, “imagining that Mr. Reid and Mr. Andreessen had made that investment as a venture fund, as opposed to making it as individuals, and then assume that they made 20 additional investments for the same exact amount time and each one of those lost 100%; their reported IRR, although unrealized, would put them in the top quartile of venture funds actively investing in 2004.”

It would be all but impossible for Andreessen to lose money on Ning. With an exit of $134 million, all preferred investors appear to get 1X their money back. Andreessen and Hoffman would get their original investment back on the Series A and the Series B at that price. The Series A gets 2X back at a $147 million sale and the Series B gets 2X back at a $160 million dollar sale.

Legg Mason also stands to do well. Later investors, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Allen and Company, on the other hand are in riskier positions. For Lightspeed's Series D to get the same kind of return (2X), the company has to sale for over $1 billion.



Source: Liquid Scenarios Search2Model preliminary estimates

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Ning is the world’s largest platform to create powerful, custom social websites. Top organizers, marketers, influencers, and activists use Ning to create a social destination where content intersects with conversations to inspire action. Every social website comes with out-of-the-box social integration, community features, point-and-click design tools, and turnkey monetization solutions that are easy to use.

In October 2010, Ning announced the launch of Ning Everywhere. It offers unparalleled flexibility for Ning Creators and third party developers to create mobile apps, monetize and integrate with popular cloud services in a matter of clicks, and develop custom apps using Ning’s API.

Ning spans categories including politics, entertainment, consumer brands, small business, non-profits, education and more, connecting over 74 million people around the globe with the topics they are passionate about. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ning was co-founded in October 2004 by Chairman Marc Andreessen and is privately held.

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