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Mayfield Snags Facebook Exec as New EIR

By Lizette Chapman – VentureWire
© 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Prashant FuloriaFacebook Inc. Product Management Director Prashant Fuloria has left the social network company to become a Mayfield Fund EIR and return to the land of start-ups, VentureWire has learned.

The move comes as Mr. Fuloria wraps a decade of product management experience at Google Inc. and Facebook and marks the latest in a long line of technologists taking up residence at the Silicon Valley firm.

"I feel the need to do my own thing, either developing my own ideas and creating a company or identifying an early-stage venture," said Mr. Fuloria who spent the past 3 1/2 years at Facebook handling commerce and advertising products and 6 1/2 years before that as a product management director for Google. "It's clear that this is the time for me to do it."

Mayfield closed its 14th fund in July—a $365 million warchest raised in 14 weeks. As the firm told VentureWire at the time, it expects to back 30 to 33 tech companies from the new pool, with roughly a third of those ideas originating from its EIR program.

Navin Chaddha, the managing director who leads Mayfield, said the "E" in EIR can stand for "entrepreneur" or "executive" in residence, depending on the individual. In Mr. Fuloria's case, "it's unclear what path he will end up taking," Mr. Chaddha said. He added that spotting hot new companies early, helping existing ones and coming up with an entirely new idea are all possibilities for Mr. Fuloria.

Past Mayfield EIRs include Stanford University President John Hennessey, who founded MIPS Computer Systems Inc. while at Mayfield and Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s founder Mark Levin. Other Mayfield EIRs went on to found companies including discount dental marketplace Brighter.com Inc. and mobile fashion marketplace Poshmark Inc.

Mr. Fuloria, who met Mayfield Managing Director Tim Chang while the two attended Stanford Graduate School of Business during the late '90s, said the EIR idea evolved over time. Mr. Fuloria plays guitar in the CoverFlow band with Mr. Chang, Mayfield's Raj Kapoor and a handful of other techies, and has been meeting to jam several times a month over the past two years.

In between renditions of "Poker Face" and "Starships," the group would talk shop, with Mr. Fuloria deciding last summer to make the leap and just now finalizing it.

"I'm interested in exploring the world where I've been with social, search and monetization in the areas of health care and education," said Mr. Fuloria. "Or I might do something new. I don't have one idea that I want to pursue right now."