March 27, 2023
After an eight-year run at the social media company Snap, where he was most recently head of growth, Jacob Andreou is making a career jump and will try his hand at investing.
Andreou is planning to leave Snap in May, he tells Fortune, when he will become venture capital firm Greylock’s ninth general partner and start investing in early-stage consumer technology companies. (Snap confirmed his departure.)
“I’m super excited, but it definitely is a change,” Andreou says, adding later: “I really can’t think of a better time to be going to do this, and I really can’t think of a better group to be doing it with.”
It’s a big transition for Andreou, who is 29. Andreou joined Snap as a product designer in 2015 after cofounding a software development company. Snap, at the time, was in the early innings of turning the application into a business that could make money. The company was only generating about $3.9 million in revenue the quarter he joined (it posted $1.3 billion in revenue last quarter).
Andreou worked on Snap’s first advertising units and later went on to help form the growth team that honed in on metrics like user growth and “DAUs,” or daily active users. After Snap’s redesign in 2018, Andreou started leading the product team, which included everything from product design to product management, data science, growth, and a few teams like user research or sociology.
Snap has been undergoing some changes in the last year as tech companies reckon with a challenging macro environment and investors expect companies to improve their bottom lines. In August 2022, Snap restructured, laying off approximately 20% of its staff and discontinuing some of its products and hardware, such as the drone camera Pixy. Snap appointed its senior vice president for engineering, Jerry Hunter, as chief operations officer, making him Snap CEO Evan Spiegel’s No. 2.
Around the same time, Snap’s chief business officer and its vice president of ad sales for the Americas both left to join Netflix. Snap has made some new hires since, including Ty Ahmad-Taylor, who was hired from Meta in January to oversee organic growth and marketing.
Andreou emphasizes how, over the last six to nine months, everyone at Snap had been more focused on monetization and “the business side of things.”
“[Snap], as we’ve publicly been talking about, [is] in the middle of a pretty big rebuild of a lot of the ways that we think about monetizing a service, and that has included not just evolving the platform itself but also evolving the teams,” Andreou says, noting how Snap has made several great senior hires in the last six months and that he is “super, super confident in the team that we have in place there.”
Andreou emphasized how much he enjoyed working with Spiegel, Snap’s CEO and cofounder, and says he hopes he can form that kind of partnership with founders in the future.
When he moves later this spring, Andreou will be joining a venture capital firm with a storied history in the Valley. Greylock has been around for more than 65 years, backing the likes of Airbnb, Facebook, Coinbase, and Workday. Adobe agreed to acquire Figma, which Greylock invested in at Series A, for $20 billion last September (though that deal is on the regulatory rocks right now).
Greylock’s partners tend to be long-tenured operators, such as Reid Hoffman, who cofounded LinkedIn and was one of OpenAI’s first investors, or David Thacker, who joined Greylock in 2020 after working in product and user experience at Google.
“It’s a big deal for us because we don’t have a large partnership,” Greylock general partner Asheem Chandna, who has been with Greylock since 2003, says of bringing on Andreou. Their newest hire will be one of two Greylock GPs under the age of 30—the other one being Saam Motamedi, who was promoted to general partner in 2019.
Andreou has dabbled with angel investing: He backed marketplace as a service startup In Search Of and an A.I.-enabled creator app called Captions.AI—both founded by Snap veterans. But it’s never been something he’s set aside much time for, he says, noting he has always been consumed by his day job. Even so, he is excited to hit the ground running and has been spending a lot of time thinking about where consumer technology will go next—thinking about how influencers and creators can be a distribution channel for quality products, and pondering what the future of A.I. will look like as it expands beyond B2B use cases. (“We’re right at the beginning of just learning what is even possible,” he says.)
There’s been a major pullback in the private markets, but Andreou says this is the best time to start investing, noting how startups will be more focused on building long-term, durable businesses in a higher-interest-rate environment than they are in “growth at all costs.” Additionally, as corporate stock prices fall, startups may have a better chance at competing for top talent, as paychecks will stop soaring at the rates they have been.
“I just think the amount of opportunity that’s ahead right now is pretty profound,” Andreou says.
SVB finds a buyer…More than two weeks after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, the troubled institution finally has a buyer, the FDIC said late yesterday evening. Raleigh, N.C.-based First Citizens BancShares agreed to acquire all of SVB’s deposits and loans—including some $72 billion worth of the bank’s assets for a discount of $16.5 billion, along with certain other assets and liabilities. As of today, First Citizens will be operating SVB’s 17 bank branches. “There will be no immediate change to customers’ current accounts, and they will be able to continue to access their accounts as they do today,” First Citizens Bank said in a statement. The bank is hosting a call today at 8:30 a.m. ET regarding the acquisition for those who want to tune in.
About $90 billion in securities and other assets were not included in the sale and continue to be in receivership. The FDIC and First Citizens Bank will divvy up the losses and potential recoveries on the loans, according to a loss–share agreement, the FDIC said, and First Citizens Bank said it had secured an available line of credit from the FDIC for contingent liquidity purposes. It appears that the failure of the bank has already cost the FDIC somewhere around $20 billion, though the agency said it would pinpoint a final number when it terminates the receivership.
First Citizens Bank said that it wouldn’t acquire any of the assets belonging to SVB Financial Group, SVB’s former parent company. That means that SVB Capital and SVB Securities will still be up for sale.
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.