We are thrilled to announce that Jacob Andreou is joining Greylock as a General Partner to focus on consumer investing. Jacob has rapidly emerged as one of the leading product executives and builders in consumer technology. He joins Greylock after an impressive run at Snap, where he helped scale the company from its early days to 360M+ DAUs and $4.5B in revenue. At Greylock, Jacob will partner with early-stage founders who are building the next generation of consumer platforms and social experiences.
Our mission at Greylock is to help realize rare potential. We get involved at the earliest stages, often at inception, when the future success of a business is still far from clear. We work closely with entrepreneurs to help them build important, lasting companies. Jacob’s track record doing this at Snap is why we are so excited to have him join our partnership.
Snap is one of the most defining consumer platforms in the last decade, leading the industry in creativity, innovation, and design. During his 8 years at Snap, Jacob played a key role in bringing their innovations to market, eventually leading hundreds of people on teams across all of Product, Design, Growth, Data Science, Analytics, and User Research.
Under his product leadership, Snap launched some of its biggest initiatives, including Spotlight and My AI, Snap’s own AI chatbot powered by ChatGPT. Earlier in his career at Snap, Jacob spent time creating and running the growth team. He established the Core-Product-Value growth framework and the international growth playbook which led to growth in daily active users from 80M to 363M.
Jacob deeply understands how to evolve consumer app experiences into profitable businesses. There was a period of time when the path to monetization at Snap was less clear. During that era, Jacob built App Install, Web View, and Video View Ad Units and led design for ads and content. Under his leadership, revenue growth went from $3.9M to >$1B per quarter.
Impressive tenure at Snap aside, Jacob embodies the values and philosophy that we hold dear at Greylock. As many venture platforms have scaled teams and products, we’ve remained a tightly-knit, highly focused team selectively backing exceptional entrepreneurs. Our partners recognize the responsibility we have to the entrepreneurs we back. Jacob’s intellect, analytical horsepower, expertise in consumer products, and proven success in partnering with founders at Snap make him an excellent fit for our mission and partnership.
Collaborating with visionary founders is what first drew Jacob to work at Snap. As Jacob describes it: “Evan is a talented and visionary founder who isn’t afraid to invent the future and make bold decisions. It’s been a formative experience to work with him in serving the Snap team and community over the past 8 years. It wasn’t always ‘up and to the right’, but through it all, Evan demonstrated focus and conviction. In fact, it’s because of these incredible experiences working alongside Evan that I am so excited to dig in and support early stage founders at Greylock.”
Greylock has partnered early with founders who have built massive consumer platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Roblox, Coinbase, Discord, and Nextdoor on their journey to many millions – and even billions – of users. We are excited about new opportunities in consumer platforms and for Jacob to carry forward this track record. In particular, Jacob is excited about AI enabled consumer products and platforms built for communities & creators. We think he’s going to be an outstanding partner to entrepreneurs building in these areas.
If you are a founder who is interested in connecting with Jacob, please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jacob spoke with Greylock’s head of editorial Heather Mack on Greymatter about the various roles he played at Snap, how it has shaped his approach to company-building, and his vision for the next wave of consumer products. You can listen to the conversation at the link below or wherever you get your podcasts.
Hi everyone. Welcome to Greymatter, the podcast from Greylock, where we share stories from company builders and business leaders. I’m Heather Mack, Head of Editorial at Greylock.
Today I’m excited to welcome Jacob Andreou, the newest member of Greylock’s investment team.
Hey, really excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
Thanks for joining. Let me start with a brief introduction. Jacob joins us after eight years at Snap, where he most recently served as SVP of Growth. Jacob, you were involved in so many core functions at Snap. You ran teams across product, design, growth, data science, analytics, and user research. And during your time, you help scale the company to more than 360 million daily active users and $4.5 billion in revenue.
I think most people would agree that Snap is one of the defining consumer companies of the last decade. And what’s really interesting is that you led the development and launch of some of the company’s most successful initiatives.This includes Spotlight, the apps entertainment platform, and most recently My AI, which is Snap’s AI chat bot, powered by ChatGPT – and, of course, we’re definitely going to talk about where you see the convergence of AI and consumer products in a little bit.
So with that, Jacob, welcome to Greylock and thanks for joining me on Greymatter.
Yeah, thank you Heather. I’m really excited to be here. I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the team at Greylock. I think a firm that is so storied has been around for [over 50] years and is an incredible combination of really senior partners that have been doing this for over a couple of decades and with a really exciting up-and-coming team, I just couldn’t think of a better fit for me to start my investing career. So I’m very excited to be joining Greylock.
It’s very kind of you to say.
Now, I’m eager to hear how you’re going to apply your background in product development into working with founders as they build the next wave of consumer products. And I’ve just given the high-level description, so can you share the more nuanced details about what you’ve been doing the past decade or so?
Yeah, of course. So as you said, I’ve been at Snap for over eight years now and I’ve spent most of that time leading product kind of overall at the company. This includes everything from product management to the design team – which is kind of a unique part of Snap specifically – user research, but also some other teams like the growth team focused on growing users and also our data science analytics teams.
Snap was a very functionally structured company for a very long time. These teams really covered everything from the app itself, our work in hardware like Spectacles and Pixie, all the stuff we did to monetization as well as augmented reality.
And so what’s been most fun for me as a leader has been just getting to see this business and this team grow, getting to partner so closely with an incredible founder in Evan Spiegel – who’s an absolute product visionary – and getting to work with him and building this product, but also building the business and not just my partnership with him, but also the fact that at every turn, every single year, I’ve always was able to work on what I really viewed as the hardest, most important problems.
Those kinds of problems are the ones that are most exciting to me. That’s when I’m having the Those kinds of problems are the ones that are most exciting to me. That’s when I’m having the most fun. That’s when I’m able to really push myself and try to immerse myself in a problem that I’ve never seen before and really figure things out and reason from first principles, and those are some of the things that were kind of the most rewarding in my time at Snap.
The three things that I’m probably most proud of: The first probably takes me back all the way to near the beginning of the eight years when I established and created the growth team. That was a lot of fun. That team still runs today and is the one that is in charge of not just making sure that topline DAU is growing every single quarter that we have to report publicly, but is also the team charged with all the inputs to growth – unpacking user experience, friending, onboarding, the key engagement metrics and indicators that we use when someone is inside of the service to deepen their engagement and the value that we’re delivering to them.
And so building and creating that team was an amazing first chapter in my career and my time at Snap. The second thing was definitely building what I would call the modern product organization at Snap. This is everything from defining the approach of bringing together the art and science of product development (and finding ways to balance these things and keep them intention to allow us to stay really, really innovative), but at the same time innovating really responsibly. Responsibly to our users and to people that use the service every single day, but also responsibly to our employees and to our investors as a public traded company. So again, bridging this gap from product to business.
And then the third thing (and the most recent chapter) was really a big kind of overhaul of monetization at Snap and this included everything from the platform itself, which you’ve heard us talk a bunch about publicly, but it also includes the team and leadership and kind of rebuilding a lot of that.
I couldn’t be more excited for the leaders that have joined Snap for the monetization space over the last six months. We’ve had a suite of probably four or five really incredible senior folks from some of the biggest companies in the world, and getting to work with them on this next chapter of monetization at Snap has been really exciting and really interesting.
So at a super high level, I think the three things that I really learned in my time at Snap was first from Evan, how to build amazing products. Second was from a lot of my leaders, but from many parts of the organization and learning how to make amazing products grow really, really fast.
And then third, turning all this into a really amazing durable business that is able to deliver value to its community but is also able to deliver revenue, to drive earnings, and to become something that’s really investible not just for public investors, but also for the employees that decide to come to a place like Snap and to invest their time every single day in helping us build a really amazing business.
Great. Well, none of that sounds easy. It all sounds really interesting and fun though. Pulling back a little bit now into what kind of environment you’re getting into as an investor, it’s an interesting time for consumer-facing companies. Many of the products people are using every day are still largely made by companies that have been dominating for quite a while now. At Greylock, we’ve had a front row view to this as we’ve been partners with many of these heavy hitters like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Discord, Roblox, etcetera.
But even though everyone’s using these products every day, it’s definitely not business as usual. For example, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency updates last summer made a big impact on marketing for both small and large companies. There’s a growing preference for privacy and personalization and companies across sectors are experimenting with business models way beyond ad supported revenue – you were just talking about monetization, we’ve seen an uptick in freemium and subscription models for goods and services, and of course, everyone is trying to integrate AI into their product in some form.
So again, some big picture themes here, but with that as the backdrop, how would you characterize the environment right now?
Yeah, I mean it’s certainly true that things like Apple Tracking Transparency have changed what it means to build a really amazing ad supported business, but even more so maybe what it means to try to advertise as a business, just trying to run their ads elsewhere. It’s also definitely true that AI is changing a lot, probably faster than anyone’s expected. But at the same time, when it comes to consumer products, you’re right. So many of the consumer products that we use every single day are products that were founded in the early 2010s.
There’s no question that when you look at mobile as a platform, that we’re super late in this distribution curve. When mobile was first a thing and Snapchat in 2012 started to become the platform people were adopting, people were installing sometimes between eight and 14 apps per month. And so the ability to get distribution as someone who was building an app for the app store or trying to distribute on mobile was actually really amazing at that point in time.
And you kind of fast-forward to today, now people are installing like half an app per month, and so the ability for a new app to break out and to become something that is used by everyone to grow really, really quickly, it’s never been harder than it is today. And I think that is one of the forces that we see kind of putting downward pressure on the fact that so many of these platforms we still use today were built in the early 2010s.
But I do think there are ways to overcome this and I do actually think that the setup right now is maybe the most interesting that it’s been for probably the last decade. I think first and foremost, big companies are trying to focus more than ever. You’ve heard Facebook talk about the year of efficiency. You’ve heard Sundar talk about how Google’s going to get way more efficient, way more focused. This is going to be amazing for startups and for founders because these big companies, as they pull in and focus on specifically their core competencies, on the things that they need to be the world-class at and most efficient at, it’s going to pull them out of so much white space where founders and amazing startups are going to be able to take that place and fill those gaps.
And so as these big companies focus, we’re going to see more room than ever before for breakout products to really shine through and to find ways to hook users and bring in their community and start to build their product and their business.
Second, talent is probably more loose in the saddle right now, specifically from these big companies than has ever been the case in the last decade. You have to remember a lot of compensation in these big companies is stock-based compensation. This compensation has ostensibly been monotonically increasing over the course of the last decade as growth stocks and tech and everything else has performed so successfully in the public markets.
Now, you look at the last two years, this obviously has not been the case recently. Suddenly, valuations have come way, way down in the public markets and you have really senior or really
talented folks that are world-class that are used to just getting this implicit raise every year as the stock price increases.
Suddenly, they see their compensation flatten out, and I have never seen more people than I’ve seen in the last year look around and think, “If this is going to be my new compensation, is this really the problem that I want to be focused on? Is this really the company I want to come to work every day and work for?” And this has created unbelievable opportunities for founders building amazing companies to attract some of the best talent in the world, and I’m super excited for that.