Dallas-Based Nirav Tolia Returns to His CEO Role at Nextdoor

Nextdoor also added three new board members, including former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, to its board of directors. The appointments are part of a broader leadership transformation at Nextdoor, following the announcement that co-founder Tolia would return as CEO, replacing Sarah Friar.

Dallas-based Nirav Tolia has retaken the helm of Nextdoor, the San Francisco-based neighborhood social network that’s active in more than 330,000 neighborhoods across 11 countries. 

Tolia, who co-founded the company in 2008 with Sarah Leary, Prakash Janakiraman, and David Wiesen, served as the company’s CEO for almost eight years before stepping down from the role in 2018. He was replaced at that time by Sarah Friar, the former CFO of Square.

In February, Nextdoor announced that Friar herself would step down from her roles as CEO, president, and chairperson of the board in Q2, with Tolia returning to fill all three roles.

Since Friar became CEO in 2018, Nextdoor has nearly tripled its audience to more than 88 million “Verified Neighbors.” But the company, which went public via a $4.3 billion SPAC merger in 2021, has seen its stock price struggle in recent years after reaching a high in November 2021. Nonetheless, 2023 marked a year of improvement under Friar’s leadership. In a year-end report, she highlighted “renewed strength and positive momentum” in Q4, noting accelerating user growth, a 3% increase in revenue year-over-year, and the initial benefits from company cost reductions. Additionally, Nextdoor announced a $150 million increase to its share buyback program, signaling confidence in its long-term outlook.

Now, Tolia resumes leadership with a vision for the future.

“Today, I have the same feelings of excitement and possibility as I did when we created this company fourteen years ago,” Tolia wrote on LinkedIn Wednesday. “Nextdoor has grown tremendously since then, but I believe our best times clearly are still ahead.”

Nextdoor adds former Yahoo CEO and others to board

Building on this optimism and reinforcing the leadership team, Nextdoor recently announced the addition of several high-profile executives to its board of directors.

“We just announced a productive Q1,” Tolia added, “and I’m delighted to also welcome Marissa Mayer (Sunshine, Yahoo), Niraj Shah (Wayfair), and Robert Hohman (Glassdoor) to our board of directors, all Founder/CEOs who bring substantial product-centric leadership experience to Nextdoor.”

The integration of these new board members is part of a broader leadership transformation at Nextdoor, initiated by Tolia’s return as CEO. He emphasized continuity and enthusiasm in a February statement.

 “I’m delighted to return to Nextdoor, the company I founded to bring neighbors all over the world closer together,” he said. “I’m immensely grateful to Sarah for her incredible leadership over the past five years, during which time Nextdoor became a public company, built a strong balance sheet, and scaled the business globally. I have loved working with Sarah and look forward to working together in the coming weeks as we transition seamlessly to this next phase for Nextdoor.”

Tolia is half of a Dallas power duo

Megha and NIrav Tolia [Photo: SMU]

Tolia, who grew up in West Texas, returned to the state with his family in 2021. He and his wife, Megha—the president and COO of global TV production company Shondaland—moved to Dallas’ Park Cities neighborhood, not far from Southern Methodist University. That made for an easy commute when, in 2023, they were named co-founding directors of the newly minted William S. Spears Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

Tolia gave a keynote talk at Dallas Startup Week last fall

Last September, Tolia gave a keynote talk with Capital One’s Kamlesh Talreja at Dallas Startup Week. Tolia recalled how a setback with one internet company he helped start led to the founding of Nextdoor.com. He also shared why many people—including his wife and himself—choose to relocate to North Texas.

“So many people are moving here. It’s a great place to live,” he said. “You can raise a family here. You can afford to be here. We shouldn’t take those things for granted, because they don’t exist in almost every other place in the country, if not the world.”

At Dallas Startup Week, he also compared Dallas’ entrepreneurial environment to Silicon Valley’s.

“This idea that you could start a company and that company can have 100 million daily users or generate $100 billion in revenue—that’s something that people truly believe in Silicon Valley,” Tolia said. “Do they believe that in Dallas yet? I know people in this room do, but collectively we need to see more successes. So, it’s incredibly important to get this going here, because think of the natural assets we have.”

“There’s a long tradition of entrepreneurship here,” he added. “There already are giants in this area. There is an incredible optimism and positive attitudes with people in this area. We have all the ingredients; it’s just going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of courage,” he said. “And then when there are some successes, those successes will spawn more successes. And this thing will get going.”     

Quincy Preston contributed to this report. 

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