I am thrilled to announce that Michael Pao is joining Greylock Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Mike joins us after spending the past 4+ years building Uber; most recently, he was the Head of Product on the Growth team. As an EIR at Greylock, Mike will spend his time founding a new marketplace company and will help advise our portfolio companies in business strategy and operations. (Mike just shared some of his key learnings from building Uber here.)
I personally can’t wait for Mike to dig in. The time is right. Airbnb and Uber are ushering in the golden age for marketplaces. In 2010, there were only two multi-billion dollar marketplaces: eBay and Alibaba. Today, we have a dozens of billion dollar marketplaces.
Marketplaces are tough to build. OK, they are nearly impossible to build. But when they are built, they completely transform entrenched industries. Airbnb and Uber are two most recent and powerful recent examples. As an early Uber employee, Mike saw and shaped this transformation first-hand. Transportation, especially in large cities, has been a pain point for years – public buses are always running late and taxis are few and far between. It was an inefficient multi-billion dollar industry with an inconsistent user experience. Now, with the push of button on their phone, people can get a ride within 5 minutes. Every time. Uber has restructured the transportation industry bringing consistency and efficiency. That’s the power of on-demand services and marketplaces.
Mike and I share a deep conviction around marketplaces, and we also have very similar backgrounds. There are parallels between my journey at eBay and his journey at Uber. I joined a eBay when it was still nascent collectibles-only auction marketplace and helped scale it to thousands of categories doing tens of billions of dollars of merchandise sales with nearly 200 million users. Similarly, Mike joined Uber is the early days. When Uber was ready to expand its operations outside of San Francisco, Travis and Ryan brought on Mike to help with the company’s expansion to new markets. Later, Mike became general manager in Boston and led its operations post-launch, where he spearheaded some of Uber’s most pivotal initiatives including #UberIceCream and surge pricing. After two successful years in Boston (a city that is now considered one of Uber’s most thriving hubs), Mike came back to San Francisco to found and manage Uber’s growth team, which accelerated Uber’s rollout of uberX and led the company’s recent growth in India and China.
Please help me welcome Michael Pao to the team. You can reach him at mpao [at] greylock dot com, follow him on twitter @paomichael and add him on Linkedin.