Gina Bianchini, the long-time head (and co-founder) of build-your-own social network service Ning, is resigning; she’s joining Ning backer Andreesen Horowitz as an executive in residence. In a blog post, Ning Chairman Marc Andreessen emphasizes that the resignation is Bianchini’s decision and that “nothing else is changing” at the startup. Bianchini is being succeeded as CEO by Ning COO Jason Rosenthal.
Under Bianchini, Ning has posted steady growth; Andreessen’s post runs through a series of metrics, including that there are more than 2.3 million social networks under the Ning banner and that it is adding more than 5,000 a day (Worth noting however that the company had once predicted it would have 4 million social networks by January 2010).
The company has also managed to raise $119 million in venture capital backing over five rounds, including $15 million last summer at a whopping $750 million valuation.
Rafat adds: No secret, I have been very skeptical of Ning from the start. My skewering of the hype around the company, two years ago, didn’t sit very well with them. Now that Gina’s leaving, and my sources say Marc’s hardly involved (despite his pronouncements in the blog post), it probably means they’re moving on with their own ambitions about the company. Another white-label social service, buried among tons of other me-toos. Interestingly, this announcement comes four days after Gina’s appearance on Charlie Rose, where she talked at length about her undying love for the social net. Great timing.