Matt Murphy, who left his role as a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers earlier this year, is joining Menlo Ventures as a managing director.
Murphy will be focusing on enterprise infrastructure and mobile first apps that apply to either consumer or the enterprise. In terms of the “mobile first apps” part, he pointed to applications like Slack and DocuSign as some examples of enterprise apps that center around bringing an employee’s workflow to mobile devices that fit that description, as well as Shazam on the consumer side.
That focus is an area where Murphy has some experience. At Kleiner Perkins, he led the firm’s iFund, which started in 2007 and became a $200 million fund. During that time Kleiner Perkins invested in companies like Shazam and Shopkick, which was acquired for $200 million by SK Telecom in September last year. Murphy also made investments in several companies that have gone public, like AutoNavi and Aerohive Networks.
As soon as Murphy left Kleiner Perkins, the calls started coming in. But Menlo Ventures’ Mark Siegel had frequently worked with Murphy — both sit on the board of Pernixdata, for example. Even then, Murphy had beaten Menlo Ventures to a number deals during his time at Kleiner Perkins, including on investments like one in Puppet Labs, Siegel said. Murphy and Siegel have an extensive history as well, which helped Menlo Ventures seal the deal.
Murphy’s timing is also good, as Menlo Ventures closed a new $400 million fund in April. When asked about why he left Kleiner Perkins, he said he told the firm he “wanted change, wanted a new environment, and to see what that would be like — the criteria of that being something smaller.”
Smaller indeed: Murphy will be the firm’s seventh partner.
“I didn’t want to spend my entire venture career at one size a firm in one place,” Murphy said. “I’d seen a lot of my peers go off and start other firms, and I thought about that, but I didn’t feel like the world needed yet another venture firm. On top of that, I looked around and said ‘if I thought of a handful of people in the venture business, where are they?’. Mark and [Menlo Ventures Managing Director] Venky [Ganesan] were certainly two of those and they were both at one firm.”
Murphy’s relationship with Siegel goes back more than two decades, he said, when the two went to business school at Stanford. Murphy knew Ganesan when he was a managing director at Globespan Capital Partners. Murphy, who is 48, comes in at a time when Menlo Ventures is going through a transition as a younger group of partners comes in to run the firm.
“I think we’ve already talked publicly about the fact that we’ve gone through a generational transition where a founder and a couple older partners are on their way [out],” Siegel said. “This is their last fund, we have a new generation taking over, it was appealing to him to be part of this next generation of the firm and be part of the leadership team.”
Menlo Ventures has certainly had a lot of recent success, which no doubt piqued Murphy’s interest. The firm invested in Uber in the company’s $32 million Series B round, and also has investments in Roku, Betterment and Warby Parker.
And beyond all that, Siegel said that one of Murphy’s strongest points was that he was a good cultural fit for the firm — which, given the size, is a pretty big priority for one like Menlo Ventures. Siegel described the group’s dynamic as “collegial,” focused on collaboration and research across the entire firm.
“Someone has to come in and sort of fit in with that way of doing things,” Siegel said. “There’s no question, it’s not for everyone, but it’s worked really well for us. When you work in a small partnership, there aren’t a lot of buffers. You have to really get a long with those people. You have to have a shared vision, a shared working style, a shared way of interfacing with the rest of the partners that’s consistent.”
Murphy starts at the firm on July 1.