Author: Connie Loizos

Sarah Friar, long the CFO of Square, is leaving to join the social network Nextdoor as its CEO

Square’s CFO Sarah Friar is stepping down to become the CEO of Nextdoor, according to the payment company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey.

In a statement issued a bit ago, he says of Friar that she “steered us through an IPO and helped build a growing ecosystem of businesses that will scale into the future.” Friar “leaves us having established a culture of entrepreneurship and discipline across the entire company. She has been an amazing leader, partner, and friend, and we are grateful for all she’s done for Square.”

Nextdoor has since released its own statement about Friar, who will assume the position in December. Quoting the company’s co-founder and outgoing CEO Nirav Tolia, the statement reads: “Sarah is one of the most highly regarded executives in Silicon Valley with an exceptionally rare mix of proven business skills, and authentic heart and soul. . . From the very beginning of our CEO search, she has been the top choice, and the board of directors and I feel exceptionally fortunate and excited for her to lead Nextdoor moving forward.”

The hire looks like a smart move by Nextdoor, the fast-growing social network that centers around neighborhoods and which, three months ago, announced that Tolia planned to step aside as soon as he found the right person to take Nextdoor “to the next level.”

At the time, Tolia had said in an email to employees that the role of CEO needed to evolve as the company evolves. He also said then that he will remain the company’s board chairman.

San Francisco-based Nextdoor has raised $285 million from investors over its eight-plus years, including from Insight Venture Partners, Benchmark, Shasta Ventures, Tiger Global Management and Kleiner Perkins. The company has soared into unicorn terrain, but it also seemingly needs to generate more revenue before it can be taken public. Toward that end, it began offering paid real estate listings roughly one year ago. The company also sells targeted ads.

Friar, often described as Dorsey’s right-hand woman at Square, grew up in Northern Ireland, the daughter of farmers. She was the first in her family to go to university, studying engineering at Oxford.

After graduating, she joined McKinsey as a business analyst in London, then Johannesburg, before moving to California in 1998 to nab an MBA at Stanford. Friar went on to spend a decade with Goldman Sachs in Silicon Valley, leaving the powerhouse bank as a managing director before spending a year with Salesforce as an SVP, then joining Square in 2012.

In addition to her work with Square, Friar sits on the boards of two powerful companies: Slack and Walmart.

Shares of Square have fallen in after-hours trading on the news.

A look at 42 women in tech who crushed it in 2017

 What a challenging, exhilarating year it has been for women everywhere, starting from the women’s March on Washington to former Uber engineer Susan Fowler’s eye-opening and now famous blog post to the #metoo movement that has swept the country, washing dozens of sexual predators out of their powerful roles in the process. All the while, women in tech have been driving their… Read More

Facebook bats back after a second former exec accuses it of negatively impacting society

 Yesterday, The Verge published comments made by investor and former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, quoting his interview last month at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, where he echoed recent comments made by former Facebook  president Sean Parker that the platform is having deleterious effects on society. Read More

Farmers Business Network just raked in a whopping $110 million in Series D funding

 Farmers Business Network has raised $110 million in new venture funding to support a business that may sound boring to some Silicon Valley technologists but which appears to have addressed a very real need: it’s a social network for farmers that invites them to share their data, pool their know-how, and bargain more effectively for better pricing from third parties. It’s a real… Read More

The “Instagram for doctors” just raised a fresh $10 million

 Figure 1 isn’t for the squeamish, but investors apparently love it. The company, a kind of social network where more than a million healthcare professionals can view rare conditions, learn about novel treatments and even teach cases, has just raised $10 million in Series B funding. Kensington Capital Partners led the round in Figure 1, which has also been called the Instagram for doctors. Read More