Norwest Venture Partners, the 56-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based venture firm that counts banking giant Wells Fargo as its single institutional investor, has just brought aboard Parker Barrile as a partner.
Barrile most recently was chief product officer at the fintech marketplace Prosper; before that, he spent five years at LinkedIn, where he was a VP of product.
Because Norwest doesn’t hire new people into its roughly 20-person partnership all that often, we thought we’d ask managing partner Jeff Crowe and Barrile a few questions about Barrile’s new gig in a fast chat.
TC: How many “managing partners” versus “partners” does Norwest now have, and will Parker be in San Francisco or Palo Alto? You have offices in both places.
JC: Norwest has three managing partners and 15 investment partners across our consumer, enterprise, healthcare and growth teams. Parker will split his time between our Palo Alto and San Francisco offices.
TC: How did he connect with Norwest — a recruiter?
JC: We first met Parker when he was VP Product at LinkedIn and have kept in touch over the years.
TC: You mentioned that he’ll be working closely with you and the consumer group. What will that look like? Norwest doesn’t hire people into the fold very often. Will he shadow you for some period of time to get the hang of things?
JC: He’ll be working closely with me and the entire consumer team at Norwest as he gets up to speed, but he’s empowered to make investments and sit on boards from day one.
TC: Parker, have you ever invested before?
TC: What do you find particularly interesting right now on the consumer front?
PB: I’m particularly excited about health and fitness, including apps, wearables and even implantable devices. I’m also interested in areas that build on my operating experience — marketplaces, vertical networks fintech and the talent ecosystem.
TC: Do you, like a lot of consumer investors, think we’re still waiting on the next big platform or do you think it’s already here?
PB: Although we haven’t seen a new platform emerge on the scale of, say, mobile, there are still huge opportunities to solve real-world problems. We spend too much time working; we spend too much time commuting; we make irrational decisions about money; we find it hard to stay fit and healthy; we don’t get good sleep. The solutions likely will be more complex than a mobile app, but I believe the next wave of innovation will enrich our daily lives in ways we can’t yet imagine.
TC: For founders and other investors looking to suck up to you as you settle in (har), what do you like to do in your free time?
PB: I’m an avid runner, and a huge fan of professional running — road, track and trail. I also build iPhone apps in my spare time, one of which has had some success in the app store.