March 30, 2022 – SPMB, an executive search firm that helps find transformative executives throughout Silicon Valley, has assisted in placing Mila Ferrell, a founding member of Zoom’s product team, as the first female partner at the early-stage venture capital firm Cervin. Suzanne Heske, who heads SPMB’s investment practice, led the assignment. Ms. Ferrell brings deep product expertise, as well as operator, investor, and financial analyst experience to the partnership, aligning with the firm’s “operators as partners” model, said Cervin. In her new role, Ms. Ferrell is focusing on investing in companies looking to define the future of work and shape fintech infrastructure in the next decade and beyond.
“Mila is an incredibly strong addition to the Cervin partner team with entrepreneurship, venture, and go-to-market experience,” said Preetish Nijhawan, co-founder and general partner at Cervin. “She impressed us with her informed insights that will be tremendously helpful to early-stage companies, as she understands the founder journey, the characteristics and methods of product-led growth, and what it takes to succeed. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to the Cervin team.”
Ms. Ferrell spent four years at Zoom as a founding member of its product team and is credited with designing the app and delivering a user experience to more than 300 million users worldwide. She was also instrumental in creating the Zoom App Marketplace and helping develop the ecosystem of start-ups building on top of the Zoom platform at its inception.
Prior to Zoom, Ms. Ferrell founded Ketchy, a messaging-based mobile personal assistant, where she raised early-stage funding, built, and took the product to market, and grew its world-class team. She also spent four years at Google as a strategic partner manager and served as a financial analyst at Deutsche Bank’s private equity arm with $55 billion in AUM, helping source, conduct due diligence, and structure several multi-billion-dollar deals.
Most recently, as an angel investor and as a scout for Emergence Capital, Ms. Ferrell worked closely with founding teams while gaining experience within the venture capital ecosystem. Her investments include ModernLoop, a recruiting operations platform, and Modern Treasury, a unicorn building the next generation of payments infrastructure.
“As a founder and operator who has taken companies from zero to one, I have deep empathy and appreciation for early-stage company builders,” said Ms. Ferrell. “Because I understand what it takes to get things off the ground in the early days of a company and launch a product, I feel compelled to share my experience and help these bright minds build the future that they envision.”
“At Cervin, I am able to work collaboratively alongside fellow former successful operators, who take a similar approach to investing and working with founders. Investing requires a long-term perspective, so having partners with a similar world view, values and vision of the future is extremely important to me,” said Ms. Ferrell.
Founded in 2011, Cervin is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, CA focused on enterprise software. The firm actively works with founders and product visionaries to design, build, and bring disruptive technologies to market in order to change how the world works.
For over 40 years, SPMB has worked alongside its clients to build executive teams that ensure venture capital and private equity-backed game-changers achieve scale, and position multi-billion-dollar public companies to unlock innovation.
Specializing in technology and innovation, SPMB recruits upper management and board members to growth-oriented companies in tech, consumer, and sustainability industries. SPMB has also placed dozens of senior executives at the portfolio companies of leading private equity firm partners including Blackstone, KKR, and TPG.
SPMB Recruits CEO for Shutterfly
The private equity sector is witnessing an explosive bidding war for top leaders as portfolio companies expand their needs for C-suite talent. SPMB, an executive search firm that helps find transformative executives throughout Silicon Valley, recently placed Hilary Schneider as the new CEO of Shutterfly, which was acquired earlier this year by private equity firm Apollo Global Management. She succeeds Ryan O’Hara, effective Jan. 15. Partner Becky Stein led the search.
“Hilary is an accomplished executive with significant digital industry expertise and a focus on innovation and superior customer experiences that will support Shutterfly’s next chapter,” said Reed Rayman of the Apollo private equity team and a member of Shutterfly’s board of directors. “We look forward to partnering with Hilary as well as the Shutterfly management team and employees to grow its three divisions and deliver the best products and services to consumers.”
Ms. Heske joined SPMB in 2019 to spearhead its investment practice. She is focused on recruiting transformational leaders to private equity, venture capital and asset management firms. Ms. Heske is also leading the firm’s cryptocurrency and blockchain efforts. She came to SPMB from Caldwell Partners, where she ran the firm’s West Coast financial services team. Prior to becoming an executive search professional, Ms. Heske spent 15 years working for financial services companies, including Merrill Lynch, Fidelity, and Piper Jaffray as an institutional salesperson.
Recently Ms. Heske helped to place Chetan Chaudhary as a partner with Burlingame, CA-based venture capital firm NewView Capital (NVC). Mr. Chaudhary is a seasoned executive, with more than 20 years of experience driving sales revenue and international business development for both start-ups and large operations. At NVC, he will provide go-to-market guidance across the firm’s portfolio, with a focus on hiring, identifying new routes-to-market, and establishing sales productivity and sales motions.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media