Jared Fliesler, Square’s VP Overseeing Growth, Joins Matrix As General Partner

Jared Fliesler, who oversaw growth and user acquisition at Square, is crossing over to the venture side from the startup world and joining Matrix Partners as a general partner.

A firm that has been around for more than 30 years, Matrix does Series A rounds in the enterprise and consumer space. It’s bi-coastal with offices in both Boston and Palo Alto. They are in companies like ZestFinance, Gilt Groupe, Polyvore, Zendesk and Zong.

After working at Square, Google and Slide, Fliesler said that venture capital would give him the opportunity to work with many companies at this optimal period in their lives when they may have found product-market fit and are looking to scale. He said he likes this six-month to two-year period in which companies can afford to grow aggressively in both their customer base and employee headcount.

While he was at Square, the company grew from $2 billion processed per year to more than $10 billion and from 800,000 activated accounts to more than 3 million. He had to balance organic growth with other customer acquisition strategies like buying TV and search advertising and cutting deals to put Square readers in 40,000 locations.

“Companies outgrow the early-stage period where you’re really shaking things up — my favorite part,” he said. Being a VC will let him be a “part-time employee for many companies in that stage and gives me a great vantage point to help them.”

Matrix’s general partner Dana Stalder said the firm had a stealth courting period with Fliesler for more than a year. He says he asked friends for a list of the top five operators they knew under the age of 35. Fliesler’s name came up and they had conversations for months where Matrix would ask for his opinion on possible investments.

“We were vetting him without telling him,” Stalder said.

He added, “Our job is to help founders go from ideas to building category-leading companies. These are seven to nine-year relationships. We needed somebody who had the skill set or background to go through a company’s full life cycle. Jared is passionate about doing exactly that.”

Fliesler will be the eighth general partner based out of Palo Alto and he’ll be looking at early-stage investments.

He’s the third Square executive of late who has crossed over to the venture side. Square’s Director of Product Megan Quinn went to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner, then former Square COO Keith Rabois joined Khosla Ventures last month.

Fliesler says that Rabois’ departure, which came after a sexual harassment claim against him arose, had nothing to do with his decision. Rabois is a longtime mentor who had worked with Fliesler at Slide before it was acquired by Google. Fliesler says he announced his departure internally a month and a half ago, before he even knew of the Rabois claim. “I had no idea,” he said.