Mike Vernal, the executive heading up Facebook’s search, local, and developer products, is leaving the company to join venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital.
During his eight years at Facebook, Vernal was instrumental in creating some of the company’s most important services, including the Facebook log-in, the mobile-app-install ads, and social plug-ins that expanded elements of Facebook’s social network to third-party websites.
As head of search, Vernal was overseeing one of the big efforts on Facebook’s 10-year road map, which will pit the company against search superpower Google.
Vernal joined Facebook in 2008, when the company’s audience was a little more than 50 million users. Facebook now counts more than 1.5 billion users.
Even in those early days, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was already aiming high, according to a farewell post that Vernal posted on his Facebook page on Monday:
In one of my first company meetings, Mark casually mentioned what we’d need to do “when we hit a billion people.”
At the time, I thought this was ludicrous. Let’s get to 100 million first, right?
It took me a while to really internalize the boldness of Mark’s vision — to connect the entire world. Not fifty million people. Not a hundred million. The whole thing. To get everyone on the internet and to give them the power to share anything with anyone.
Vernal will join Sequoia as a partner in May, where he’ll work with founders across a broad range of startup companies, with a focus on consumer and developer tech. Sequoia said in a statement that Vernal’s “experience scaling engineering, product, and design teams at Facebook will be invaluable to Sequoia founders working to build similarly transformative companies.”
Facebook sent the following statement: “Mike Vernal has been an integral part of the Facebook team for 8 years. While we’re sad to lose him, we’re happy for him to take the next step in his career and wish him all the best.”