Matt Murphy, Partner at Menlo Ventures @mmurph
It’s a very exciting time for Menlo Ventures and we’re thrilled to welcome Tim Tully as our newest partner. Many of you may know Tim: He’s a respected technologist and product leader in the valley, who most recently served as CTO of Splunk where he led product, engineering, IT, and security.
Bringing on a new partner is a big deal at any venture firm. And because Menlo functions as a tight-knit team, it isn’t something we take lightly. It may only happen every couple of years, and so we like to take our time because a partnership is a long-term commitment. Covid made the recruiting process a challenge. But, through a series of socially distanced walks, outdoor dinners, and Zoom sessions where we poured over products and theses, we got to know and appreciate Tim. Impressed by the quality of his thinking and his ability to connect with people, we started pulling him into conversations around investments we were considering. After one such meeting, the founder asked if Tim could join the board! It was hardly surprising: Tim’s ability to relate to founders, to understand the intricacies of their business, and go deep on the tech will distinguish him as an investor and board member.
Tim has several qualities that stand out to us. They will serve him well in his work at Menlo and in his partnerships with early-stage founders:
- Tim is a technologist at heart. He is deep technically and his in-the-trenches, hands-on experience will be helpful to many entrepreneurs as they navigate the early knothole of finding product-market fit and then executing to get there. Tim spent over a decade in various technical roles at Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, and several startups. At Yahoo!, he rose from a data engineer to Chief Data Architect and worked closely on several important open source projects including the internal systems that led to Hadoop. He went on to lead engineering across Yahoo Media products, including Yahoo.com, Yahoo Finance, Fantasy Sports, Tumblr and many more. As CTO of Splunk, Tim oversaw the company’s shift from on-prem software to a cloud-first organization, navigating a difficult transition that many companies don’t survive. But, under Tim’s leadership running both product and engineering, Splunk not only survived but thrived, more than doubling its market cap to over $25B. He also acquired 10 companies and set up an internal innovation group designed to diversify Splunk’s offerings, including a new vertical in the Observability space and innovations in AI/ML, mobile, streaming, AR/VR, and more. This experience gives Tim a strong instinct for important technology trends and what’s next/under-served, particularly in cloud infrastructure. In his spare time, Tim hacks on side projects — he created his own crypto rig to understand mining better, and coded puzzles for his Splunk teams to solve, including a Unity-based first-person shooter inspired by Cyberpunk 2077.
- Tim is a fantastic engineering leader. Though he has many technical accomplishments, if you ask Tim he would say, he’s most proud of the teams he built. He is a magnet for talent — he built dozens of teams at Splunk and Yahoo and has had a large number of people follow him wherever he goes. At Splunk, he tripled the product team, taking it from 600 to 1800 in less than three years. He likes to help, mentor, and grow people. Many technical founders need to transform themselves from the smartest engineer in the room into a leader who can oversee large teams. Tim has made that journey himself, from individual contributor to architect to public company exec, so it’s an area where really help founders. This takes a lot of humility and high EQ — Tim’s references all speak to his people skills, but it also comes across in every interaction we’ve had with him.
- Tim has GTM chops. Thanks to his time at Splunk, where he was heavily involved in closing large deals with the sales team, Tim has a good nose for GTM and an unparalleled network amongst CTOs, CISOs and CIOs across the tech industry and the Fortune 500.
- Above all Tim is a team player. That’s how we work at Menlo. We go “all in” with each other and in our partnerships with entrepreneurs. Start-ups succeed as teams and so does Menlo: We don’t sit in silos nor do we sit on the sidelines, instead we work as a team drawing on the best of our attributes to make each other better and help in any situation. We’ve also built an amazing services team to amplify our impact. Tim’s added dimension of deep technical expertise and as a world-class operator at scale will make the pack even stronger, and help us better live up to our “All In” ethos.
Where will Tim invest?
While Tim has a broad range of product and technology interests, he will primarily focus on early-stage investments that speak to his passion for the next-generation cloud, ML, and data stack.
He will help Menlo double down on the future of the cloud, where things continue to accelerate at a blinding pace. Tim’s experience building the original data pipeline at Yahoo, as well as their early ML efforts, combined with his work shifting Splunk’s products to the cloud, gives him a particularly strong and differentiated vantage point in a sector we are really excited about. Tim will extend and amplify the work we’ve been doing, building on our long history of investing in infrastructure companies from DevOps (Ansible, AppDynamics, Firehydrant, Harness, Unravel) to cloud infra services (Avi, F5, Grainite, Netlify, Yellowbrick) to cloud security (Abnormal Security, Ironport, Palo Alto Networks, StackRox).