Menlo Ventures ramps up its consumer investing, Carolan rejoins as managing director

Menlo Ventures is putting new resources behind its consumer investing, hiring three new staffers and bringing back Shawn Carolan as a managing director.

The firm also plans to open a San Francisco office.

Carolan rejoins the firm after a full-time, two-year stint running his own e-mail productivity company called Handle. He said he left Handle when it turned away from pursuing a mass-market product strategy.

“I learned a lot,” Carolan said. “I know it is going to make me a much better investor.”

In addition to Carolan, the firm will hire a new partner and two associates. “We’re really doubling down,” he said. “There’s enough opportunity to warrant that many people.”

Shawn Carlson Menlo Ventures
Shawn Carolan, managing director, Menlo Ventures. Photo courtesy of the firm.

In April 2015, the firm closed its $400 million 12th fund with a vow to continue the consumer emphasis of its previous fund. Both funds have a 50/50 enterprise-consumer split, in contrast to Fund X from 2006, which leaned more toward enterprise.

Managing Director Mark Siegel said he sees no shortage of great ideas in the consumer space or highly valued companies being created.

“We need to have more behind the consumer arrow,” he said.

Carolan initially joined Menlo in 2002 and backed such companies as Siri, Uber and Roku. He said he will look for investment opportunities enabled by what he called the new “ingredients” fueling consumer innovation, such as natural language processing, machine learning, computer vision and wearables.