I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined Sapphire Ventures to invest in transformational consumer technology companies and partner with CEOs to navigate hyper-growth.
Over the past two decades, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some amazing consumer tech companies. I got my start in the Valley as a product and marketing manager at E*TRADE, later led a business unit at Yahoo!, and most recently, was Trulia’s President and COO from our Series C, to IPO, to our eventual $3 billion merger and integration into Zillow Group.
At Trulia, we grew the business from a start-up with 100 employees and $20 million in revenue into a stand-alone public company, eventually merging with Zillow to create a 3,000-person company that generates more than $1 billion in revenue. Together with fantastic founders and an amazingly talented team, we navigated the mobile platform shift, iterated our way to a strong and diverse revenue model, and built one of the strongest cultures the Valley has seen. At Yahoo! and E*TRADE, I led teams with a similar focus of connecting consumers to the online products and resources that help them better accomplish things that mattered in their lives.
In my own journey, I’ve wrestled with many of the challenging issues that inevitably come with hyper-growth: How to launch new product lines without distracting from a successful core? How to add sales and revenue orientation to a strong but largely product-centric culture? When does M&A make sense and how to manage a successful integration? And most importantly, how to scale oneself as a leader and maintain an entrepreneurial culture as a startup grows to hundreds and eventually thousands of employees?
These are nuanced and challenging questions, and ones that all breakout companies must navigate. For growth-stage founders, getting trusted advice on these topics can make all the difference. I’ve learned a ton from my own efforts tackling these issues head-on, and from working closely with some amazing founders and execs — Jerry Yang, Jeff Weiner, Pete Flint, Sami Inkinen, Spencer Rascoff and Rich Barton, to name a few. Now I hope to be a helpful and supportive resource to the startup community that has given so much to me.
I’m excited to join Sapphire Ventures — a fantastic VC firm with proven success (50+ exits since 2011) and an outstanding team that is smart and aggressive, yet still humble and thoughtful. Sapphire cares deeply about its companies, and supports them with a powerful network of resources. As a managing director at Sapphire, I’ll be investing in growth-stage ($5–10m+ revenue) companies in the consumer, marketplace and fintech spaces. These are sectors where I’m passionate, have first-hand experience to share, and yet still have lots to learn.
To be honest, I never expected to become a VC. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the trenches at E*TRADE, Yahoo!, Trulia and Zillow Group. Over the past year, however, spurred by a joint executive-in-residence at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, I met dozens of talented founders and came to realize the value I can provide, as well as benefits I can gain, by working with a portfolio of companies. I look forward to partnering with the boldest, most talented entrepreneurs in the world to navigate company hyper-growth, especially the challenging aspects of leadership and organizational scaling that often don’t get the attention and discussion they deserve.
I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves, meet Sapphire’s existing companies, and identify and grow the next generation of winners. You can find me at email@example.com or on Twitter @plevine. I look forward to connecting.