Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Facebook’s First Sales Guy, Kevin Colleran, Joins General Catalyst Partners

Kevin Colleran, one of the first 10 Facebook employees and its first salesperson, has joined General Catalyst Partners as a venture partner.

At the time he left last summer, Colleran was Facebook’s earliest remaining employee, save for Mark Zuckerberg.

General Catalyst told the Boston Business Journal that Colleran’s focus will be working with its early stage portfolio companies.

Colleran said today that he expects to eventually land in another operating role at a company, but for the time being he thinks he can help young start-ups figure out “how to make advertising a benefit rather than a cost” and tell them stories about the early days of scaling Facebook.

For instance, Colleran said he advises start-ups to think about monetization early on. Despite the perception that Facebook focused on growing its userbase first, and then figured out how to make money later, the reality was the company sustained itself on campus “flyer” ads in its earliest days, Colleran said.

Since Facebook had always had advertising, users came to expect it, Colleran said. “We were break-even profitable in the early days, before Sean came in and raised the big VC. We knew that if we got $25 for a flyer we could spend that money on paying ourselves, or on servers.”

Colleran said he also expected that being part of a venture capital firm will be a bit like going to business school, as he’ll be broadening his own horizons to learn about the financing side of the industry.

Boston-based General Catalyst also a good perch from which to look at the industry and try to find the next Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard or Drew Houston at MIT, Colleran said. “I’ve figured out the likelihood of me being on the ground floor of another company that changes the world is probably unlikely,” he added.

Colleran said that he is personally joining the advisory boards of Path, VaynerMedia and Backplane, in addition to similar roles he already holds at Buddy Media, Causes and the Basis health band.

Colleran spent the eight months since he left Facebook traveling with his fiancee, but he is “just too antsy” to take more time off, he said.

Early Facebookers are big into investing their money in tech. Matt Cohler became a VC at Benchmark Capital in 2008, while Chamath Palihapitiya started the Social+Capital Partnership last year, and Ali Rosenthal is now an EIR at Greylock Partners. Many early Facebook employees make angel investments, often in each other’s projects.

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”