Wellington taps LinkedIn co-founder to expand US presence

The European venture firm has hired Eric Ly to enhance its Silicon Valley network as the love affair between the venture community and social networking websites continues.

European venture firm Wellington Partners has hired LinkedIn co-founder Eric Ly to expand the London and Munich-based firm’s US operations.

Ly, who presided as LinkedIn’s chief technology officer until 2005, will evaluate potential Wellington investments in the Silicon Valley while also providing operational expertise for Wellington’s online social networking portfolio.

The Stanford graduate is no stranger to venture capital community, having worked for Benchmark Capital and Atlas Ventures before founding LinkedIn in 2002.

Ly will be joining Wellington’s six other US-based partners, which include Oracle vice president George Colliat and serial web entrepreneur Loïc Le Meur.

However, Ly may not be very involved with the firm’s day to day operations, as he will continue to work in his current post as chief executive officer of Presdo, an online scheduling application startup.

Ly said he will devote only two days per month to Wellington, according to report in VentureBeat.

Wellington portfolio companies that could fall within Ly’s realm of expertise include hiClip, a video technology supplier for online social networks, and Seesmic, a video-based social networking service.

Ly’s hiring represents yet another example of the venture community’s growing love affair of online social networking sites and the entrepreneurs who develop them.

Last month, LinkedIn raised eyebrows when it disclosed a $53 million financing round led by Bain Capital Ventures and Sequoia Capital that valued the website at more than $1 billion.