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Former Square executive Rabois to join Khosla Ventures

By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Keith Rabois, the executive whose sudden exit from mobile payments company Square became the talk of Silicon Valley, will join Khosla Ventures in March, the firm said on Tuesday.

Speculation has swirled around where Rabois would ultimately land. He left Square last month, citing legal threats from a young colleague with whom he had maintained a two-year relationship. He had served as Square's chief operating officer since 2010.

"We are thrilled to have Keith join us as he has shown himself to be a great investor, but even more importantly he's a true adviser," founding partner Vinod Khosla said in a statement.

Khosla Ventures, founded in 2004, is known for backing clean-technology and Internet companies. Its portfolio includes Square; microserver company SeaMicro, acquired by chip designer Advanced Micro Devices Inc last year for $334 million; and business social-networking service Yammer, acquired by Microsoft Corp last year for $1.2 billion.

Rabois, who has extensive experience with technology start-ups, is expected to help the firm further beef up that part of its business.

A former executive at eBay Inc's PayPal unit with a degree from Harvard Law School, Rabois has long been an angel investor in companies such as online lodging business Airbnb.

"High caliber mentoring and genuine counsel is rare," wrote Rabois in a post on the question-and-answer service Quora. http://www.quora.com/Keith-Rabois-1/What-is-Keith-Rabois-up-to-after-leaving-Square. "I am excited to join Khosla Ventures because we recognize that this is what the most ambitious entrepreneurs crave."

Square, headed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is one of the Bay Area's hottest start-ups, raising $200 million late last year in a funding round that valued the company at $3.25 billion. It sells card readers that plug into mobile phones enabling businesses to accept credit card payments using an app on the smartphone.

It is unclear whether Rabois or Square reached a settlement with the employee who, according to a blog post Rabois wrote last month, had threatened to sue. Rabois, Square and the young man's attorney did not immediately respond to requests for a comment.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Andre Grenon)

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