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Mike Vernal

  • Seed/Early
My general goal and management style is just to try to make other people successful. If something goes wrong, I will try to jump in front of it, but otherwise I just want to see others win.

Backstory

I never aspired to do venture. I like building things! I was a PM and engineer at Microsoft and then spent eight years at Facebook leading engineering, product and design teams. But a close friend and college roommate—Matt MacInnis—founded a Sequoia-backed company called Inkling. He introduced me to Bryan and I slowly got to know the team at Sequoia. The most fun I had in my career were the early years at Facebook where everything was crazy and frenetic. It was just a bunch of kids running around, sleeping on sofas and trying to keep up with the insane growth while also building new products—it was incredibly fun. If you experience that once in your career, you are incredibly lucky. Sequoia offered the opportunity to help founders and teams going through similar journeys. I’ve seen hypergrowth a few more times now and it’s always exhausting but exhilarating. That’s probably what’s most exciting to me.

On the lookout for

I like folks that are super sharp and clear thinkers—people who tend to be simplifiers (vs. complexifiers). I also look for impatience—speed is one of a startup’s most important assets. I tend to not over-index on sector—great founders have a way of making any industry interesting and compelling. I’m on the board of Whisper.ai—a hearing aid company—not because I have any expertise in hearing aids, but because the founders saw an opportunity to make life meaningfully better for tens of millions of people around the world (while also building a great business). And the technology is really cool.

The two things I know best are consumer products and developer products. I spent about half my career doing each. I spent a lot of my career designing APIs, developer tools and documentation. Nowadays, I gravitate most to products whose fundamental goal is to connect people.

Get in touch with Mike

Personal Side

  • Dad
  • Bass player
  • Runner
  • Madden (my pandemic vice)

Press & Media

Companies

Current Companies

Company Name  Short Description Current Stage  Founders First Partnered  collapse
AquariumAquarium is a machine learning data management system that helps teams improve their models.Seed
  • Peter Gao
  • Quinn Johnson
Seed (2020)Collapse
Blues WirelessBlues Wireless builds and deploys wireless connected devices.Early
  • Ray Ozzie
Seed (2020)Collapse
CensusCensus is the data automation platform that syncs users' data warehouse with all their business apps.Growth
  • Bradley Buda
  • Boris Jabes
  • Sean Lynch
  • Anton Vaynshtok
Early (2020)Collapse
DenoDeno is building application development for the modern web.Early
  • Bert Belder
  • Ryan Dahl
Early (2022)Collapse
ElementlElementl is the company behind Dagster, a data orchestration platform.Early
  • Nick Schrock
Seed (2018)Collapse
GadgetGadget is a development platform designed to rid ecommerce app developers of busywork.SeedSeed (2021)Collapse
NotionNotion is a collaborative workspace with notes, docs, wikis, and projects. Growth
  • Simon Last
  • Ivan Zhao
Growth (2021)Collapse
PicsArtPicsArt is a creative platform with free-to-use editing tools.Growth
  • Hovhannes Avoyan
  • Artavazd Mehrabyan
Early (2014)Collapse
RipplingRippling connects every business system to one source of truth for employee data.Growth
  • Parker Conrad
Growth (2021)Collapse
RocksetRockset is a real-time analytics at cloud scale.Growth
  • Dhruba Borthakur
  • Venkat Venkataramani
Seed (2016)Collapse
StarkWareStarkWare brings scalability and privacy to blockchains with zero-knowledge STARK proofs.Growth
  • Eli Ben-Sasson
  • Alessandro Chiesa
  • Uri Kolodny
  • Michael Riabzev
Early (2018)Collapse
StatsigStatsig is a modern experimentation platform that enables teams to ship products optimized experiences.Growth
  • Vijaye Raji
Seed (2021)Collapse
SwitchboardSwitchboard’s cloud coworking space makes remote collaboration as good as in person.Early
  • Amir Ashkenazi
Seed (2020)Collapse
ThreadsThreads is an online collaboration platform designed to scale decision-making.Growth
  • Rousseau Kazi
  • Suman Venkataswamy
Early (2017)Collapse
untappeduntapped is a recruiting platform that helps companies pursue their diversity initiatives.Growth
  • Adam Gefkovicz
  • Ben Herman
Early (2019)Collapse
VerkadaVerkada is a security surveillance system backed by software.Growth
  • Benjamin Bercovitz
  • Filip Kaliszan
  • James Ren
  • Hans Robertson
Growth (2019)Collapse
WhisperWhisper is using AI to build the best hearing aid system.Growth
  • Dwight Crow
  • Andrew Song
  • Shlomo Zippel
Seed (2017)Collapse