Today is an exciting day for Menlo Ventures, as we are announcing not one, but two incredible additions to our team: Chris Penner, recently SVP of Global Sales and Alliances at Box, as an Operating Partner and Naomi Pilosof Ionita, as an Investing Partner (separate blog here). We believe the right mix of investing and operating partners provide the most impact to portfolio companies, and we’re taking a big step to provide that by hiring two company-growth experts as partners.
Chris (affectionately known as “Penner”) will spearhead business development as an Operating Partner at the firm and key part of Menlo FUEL. Two years ago Menlo announced FUEL to provide guidance and resources across talent, marketing, sales, and business development.The latter two areas is where Chris will focus. He will advise our portfolio companies’ on go-to-market (GTM) activities from connecting with key customers and strategic partners, to crafting powerful partnerships, to boosting sales and developing channel programs. Chris excels at engineering successful partnerships, which has been a perpetual challenge for early stage companies.
In addition to working with Menlo’s portfolio, Chris will further build out the firm’s ecosystem of advisors, industry leaders, CIOs, and other functional heads, as well as an Enterprise Briefing Center—with a focus on driving potential prospects and customers to portfolio companies.
Chris’ industry contacts and co-workers, consistently highlight his ability to drive successful relationships built on trust and results. His roles through two IPOs: Plumtree and Box, and two acquisitions: BEA/Plumtree and Interwoven/iManage, are also particularly valuable to his understanding of what GTM strategies work best at various stages of a company’s arc of growth.
Beyond working life, Chris is an environmental and outdoor sports enthusiast who enjoys spending time with his family, including coaching his daughters’ basketball and soccer teams. He was born in Manhattan and raised by New Yorkers in Los Gatos which we say gives him the edge of a NY’er with the laid back social demeanor of the Valley.
His experience is impressive, but what impressed us most is his passion for his craft, how much co-workers enjoy him, and his vision for this role’s impact. We’re thrilled to have Chris leading the FUEL team along with Talent Partner, Jordan Ormont, and soon a new Chief Marketing Officer, who will complete the team. For all our current and prospective entrepreneurs, we look forward to having you meet and collaborate with the FUEL team. We believe you’ll feel as lucky to work with them as we do!