One of Facebook's longest serving execs is leaving to become a startup investor

Mike VernalFacebookMike Vernal

Mike Vernal, the executive heading up Facebook’s search, local and developer products, is leaving the company to join venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

During his eight years at Facebook Vernal was instrumental in creating some of the company’s most important services, including the Facebook login, the mobile app install ads and the Facebook Open Graph, which expanded Facebook’s social network to third party websites.

Vernal joined Facebook in 2008 when the company’s audience was a little more than 50 million users. Facebook now counts more than 1.5 billion users.

Even in those early days, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was already aiming high, according to a farewell post that Vernal posted on his Facebook page on Monday:

In one of my first company meetings, Mark casually mentioned what we’d need to do “when we hit a billion people.”

At the time, I thought this was ludicrous. Let’s get to 100 million first, right?

It took me a while to really internalize the boldness of Mark’s vision — to connect the entire world. Not fifty million people. Not a hundred million. The whole thing. To get everyone on the internet and to give them the power to share anything with anyone.

Vernal will join Sequoia as a partner in May, where he’ll focus on consumer and developer tech.

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