Last week, we learned that Dropcam cofounder Greg Duffy has headed over to Apple. Today, Felicis Ventures, the early-stage venture firm, is disclosing it has brought aboard Dropcam’s other cofounder, Aamir Virani, as its newest partner.
The move seems a perfect fit for both sides. Felicis wrote one of the earliest checks to Dropcam, an internet-connected security camera company that was sold to Nest Labs in 2014 for $555 million, months after Nest was itself acquired by Google for $3.2 billion.
For his part, however, Virani — who also left Nest in 2015 — stayed mum, calling Google “one of the great companies” of the world during a call earlier this week. Explaining his departure, he said simply that “I wasn’t really a big company person. I just don’t think that mentality is right for me. I like trying to figure out how to make something useful for customers, then figuring out how to create a business that will ensure it survives.”
It largely explains why, over the past year or so, Virani has chosen to do a limited amount of angel investing and to advise a small group of startups, many of them through his network, which includes friends from Rice University, where the Houston native nabbed his undergraduate degree, and Stanford, where he went to grad school. Among those bets: Luma, an Atlanta-based company that makes slick-looking WiFi routers (we’ve written about it here); Petasense, a San Jose-based company whose sensors help facilitate predictive maintenance on machinery; and Loop, a San Francisco-based company whose tablet-like device helps families organize their media, as well as communicate. (TC wrote about it here.)
Interestingly, Aydin Senkut, the former Google sales exec who founded Felicis in 2006, says Felicis is about to disclose its biggest investment ever in the coming weeks, and that it’s a company that Virani introduced to the firm. (Senkut cautions that the deal hasn’t yet closed.)
Asked what he’ll be focused on at Felicis, Virani says he’s most interested in “data centric products and services, hardware, software, cloud services — most of it seems like it’s focused on the connected home and workplace.”
He notes that a lot of his interests dovetail with those of Senkut and Wesley Chan, another Felicis partner who joined the firm in 2014 from GV. Virani is quick to add however, that “everyone sort of shadows everyone else here. It really is very collaborative. It’s just been a few weeks [since I joined the firm] but I feel like I’ve been here for a year already; you get ingrained very quickly.”