Exclusive: To be clear this is not an April Fools’ joke. Multiple sources inside the company confirm that Pinterest co-founder Paul Sciarra is leaving the company within the next week or so. Paul was one of the original founders of Cold Brew Labs (established in 2008) with Ben Silbermann which incubated Pinterest and other products. Ben and Paul knew each other while attending school at Yale.
While Ben has largely been the face of the company over the past few months, Paul has maintained a more silent role. Since early in the company’s history Ben has been focused on the product and community (as evidenced by his frequent blog posts and reaching out to community members). The site’s design is largely attributed to Evan Sharp who didn’t join the company officially until 2011, but is also listed as a founder. Paul himself gives Evan and Justin Edmund credit for it on Quora (see below). With Paul’s VC background at Radius Ventures, it seems the natural fit for him to have been involved raising money and other more administrative issues.
On the SEC filing documents for their funding round in December 2010, Paul is listed as the CEO and President. Something in the last year and a half changed. At a recent Startup Grind Ben talked about cold calling everyone he possibly could to get meetings. Both may have been involved but Ben has become the face of the company and worked into the CEO role.
Ultimately as companies grow, roles will change and shift around. Woz left Apple, Facebook had its very public share of co-founder drama, Twitter’s founder situation wasn’t great either, so in many ways it is par for the course. Just a bit unusual to see it happen as the site really takes off and after 3-4 years of plugging along. But regardless clearly Pinterest is in great hands with Ben and the rest of the all-star team that it has been assembling there.
Paul hasn’t been active on Twitter account since November, but he did answer a bunch of interesting Quora questions on Pinterest in the fall. I’ve pasted the screenshots in case they get pulled down. Wish him the best in whatever he does next.
Paul, Ben Silbermann, and Evan Sharp
Image via Boomberg Businessweek.
UPDATE DEUX: Other coverage about this post available here on Techmeme.
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