Benchmark, the storied venture firm, has brought aboard a fifth general partner: 29-year-old Miles Grimshaw, a Yale graduate who joins the outfit from Thrive Capital, where he similarly joined a team of four other partners back in 2013, helping them raise the firm’s fourth and fifth funds (per Forbes).
From his post as a general partner with New York-based Thrive, Grimshaw had sourced deals in some of today’s buzziest startups and served on their boards, including Lattice, Mapbox, Benchling and Airtable, getting to know fellow investors at Benchmark in the process.
He represented Thrive on the board of Benchling — whose software helps lab scientists manage their biotech research — with Eric Vishria, a former entrepreneur and operator who joined Benchmark as a general partner in 2014.
Grimshaw also represented Thrive on the board of the cloud collaboration software company Airtable with Peter Fenton, who became the longest-serving general partner at Benchmark this year, as famed VC Bill Gurley began transitioning out of an active role at the firm. (Fenton was poached from Accel back in 2006.)
And Grimshaw has been serving on a board with Benchmark’s Sarah Tavel, who was herself poached by the firm in 2017, from Greylock. That company is Supergreat, a two-year-old, New York-based site for beauty enthusiasts that’s building a community of visitors who become reviewers, who then become shoppers.
Supergreat is among Benchmark’s newest bets. It was announced earlier this month that Benchmark led the startup’s $6.5 million Series A round.
Before hiring Grimshaw, Benchmark’s newest general partner was Chetan Puttagunta, who joined the firm in 2018 from New Enterprise Associates, where he spent more than seven years.
Benchmark has done better than some firms when it comes to succession, even while many of its general partners remain involved in startups long after they move on from the firm’s day-to-day operations.
Firm cofounder Bruce Dunlevie, for example, joined the board of WeWork back in 2012. He’s now part of a lawsuit alleging fellow investor WeWork investor SoftBank of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, after SoftBank abandoned a tender offer to buy out earlier shareholders folllowing WeWork’s pulled IPO last year.
Reportedly, Matt Cohler — a former Facebook exec who was left an active role as a general partner with Benchmark in 2018 after a decade with the firm — also helped Benchmark secure its spot in summer as the lead Series A investor in Popshop Live, a livestreaming e-commerce platform. According to The Information, to help seal the deal, Cohler agreed to join the startup’s board of directors.
In addition to Cohler and Gurley, who’ve stepped back in recent years, Mitch Lasky, who joined the firm in 2007, also stepped away from its core team in 2018.
Benchmark made it known this summer that it was looking to bring aboard a fifth partner, one who likely completes the firm’s roster for now. As Fenton told us in September when he sat down with us at our TechCrunch Disrupt event, Benchmark “can’t scale. When we’ve gotten above six partners, the firm doesn’t work so well.”
Fenton talked at some length about how Benchmark views the composition of its team. We also talked about that WeWork deal. If you’re curious to learn more, you can watch that interview below.