Investment firm Greylock has named Josh McFarland as its newest investment partner, ending an eight-year courtship to bring Twitter’s current vice president of product on board. McFarland won’t start work for a while, as he’s currently busy transitioning things at Twitter, but he is expected to officially become an investor at the end of Q1 2017.
McFarland brings with him quite a bit of experience in both the operations and product spaces, having worked for multiple startups, as well as Google, and even become an entrepreneur-in-residence at Greylock. In fact, it was there that he and Mark Ayzenshtat launched TellApart, an ad technology company that was acquired by Twitter in 2015. In the nearly two years since, he has ascended from being a senior director of product to the division’s vice president.
His departure will be yet another in Twitter’s growing list of executive departures. Twitter recently acquired app maker Yes to bring on new product lead Keith Coleman, who replaces Kevin Weil. Now the technology company will have another vacancy to fill.
The relationship between Greylock and McFarland goes back years. Partner James Slavet told VentureBeat that the firm tried to recruit McFarland when he was working at Google. McFarland said at the time that although he would “at some point in my career” consider the offer, he was looking for more operating experience and wanted to start his own company, lead people, and create products.
“He was an emerging product leader at Google, where he’d spent the previous five years. We were looking to add a new investor to the Greylock team, and we interviewed dozens of candidates. After multiple rounds of discussions with Josh, he stood out as the person we most wanted to hire,” Slavet stated in a post.
And the two kept in touch, with Greylock funding TellApart’s Series A and B rounds (led by Slavet) and incubating the startup. But it was around the time that the firm raised $1 billion for its 15th fund that all the wooing finally paid off. Investments from this new fund won’t be made until next year, but it’s likely that McFarland will play a big role in the firm’s continued investment in consumer, enterprise, virtual reality, machine learning, and connected hardware companies.
He joins a firm that has brought on board a number of partners, including former Pinterest product manager Sarah Tavel and renowned product manager Josh Elman. Slavet said that Greylock seeks individuals who possess “a strong product background and think it’s at the core of building better businesses,” are able to network well — “people who know them, respect them, and like them” — and have a strong point of view, while still being able to collaborate.
We don’t know yet what specific areas McFarland will focus on, but we’ll find out more when he officially joins the firm next year.
Oh, and McFarland’s impending departure announcement from Twitter comes on the same day as the resignation of the company’s chief technology officer.
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