|Founder(s)||Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz|
|Headquarters||Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, California
Founding and partners
Between 2005 and 2009, Andreessen and Horowitz were active investors in technology companies. Separately and together, they invested $4 million in 45 start-ups such as Twitter. During that time, the two became well known as super angel investors.
On July 6, 2009, Andreessen and Horowitz launched their venture capital fund with an initial capitalization of $300 million. In November 2010, the company raised another $650 million for a second venture fund at a time when the field of venture capitalism was contracting. In less than two years, the firm had a total of $1.2 billion under management in two funds. As of January 31, 2012, the firm was managing $2.7 billion in assets with the closing of its third fund at $1.5 billion. In May 2011, Andreessen Horowitz ranked as the number 1 venture capital firm by Investor Rank, based on the firm’s networks and level of syndication with other venture firms. Andreessen ranked number 10 on the 2011 Forbes Midas List of Tech’s Top Investors while he and Horowitz ranked number 6 on Vanity Fair’s 2011 New Establishment List and number 1 on CNET’s 2011 most influential investors list.
In September 2009 the firm invested $50 million for 2 percent of Skype stock. The investment was largely seen as risky because many believed Skype would be crippled by intellectual property litigation (initiated by Skype’s founders) and direct competitive attacks from Google and Apple. “When we bought the company from eBay, many thought that Skype, like so many acquired technology companies, had lost its technical talent,” Horowitz told The Wall Street Journal. “Through our research, we found that Skype had a core group of engineers who were completely dedicated to the mission. They stayed through the eBay acquisition and were hugely determined to make Skype the communications company of the future.” The gambit paid off when Skype sold to Microsoft in May 2011 for $8.5 billion.
In February 2011, Andreessen Horowitz invested $80 million in Twitter, becoming the first venture firm that holds stock in all four of the highest-valued, privately held social media companies: Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga. Andreessen Horowitz has also invested in Airbnb, Lytro, Jawbone, Foursquare and other high-tech companies.
Andreessen Horowitz invests both in early-stage start-ups, which may raise just $50,000, and established growth companies, which often raise tens of millions of dollars. The firm is currently invested in 156 companies, which includes its own portfolio of 90 companies and 66 start-ups through its funding of Y Combinator's Start Fund. Andreessen Horowitz's investments span the mobile, gaming, social, ecommerce, education and enterprise IT (including cloud computing, security, and software as a service) industries.
- Groupon, IPO, 2011
- Instagram, Acquired, 2012
- Skype, Acquired, 2010
- Zynga, IPO, 2011
- Nicira, Acquired, 2012
- Silver Tail Systems, Acquired, 2012
The firm is structured differently from most other venture capital firms in several ways. Instead of having general partners who specialize in a specific industry, each Andreessen Horowitz partner works on behalf of all its portfolio companies, an approach modeled after the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency. Andreessen Horowitz helps start-ups it invests in with everything from recruiting to public relations. Margit Wennmachers, a marketing veteran who joined Andreessen Horowitz in 2010, is among the few venture capital marketing executives at the partner level. The firm has developed a database of top designers, coders, and executives and uses it to help fill positions at its start-ups. Andreessen Horowitz has 11 staff members (as of September 2011) dedicated to recruiting, which is unusual for a VC firm.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers became a special advisor to Andreessen Horowitz in June 2011. Summers works with the firm’s portfolio companies that are seeking existing market restructuring and global expansion. In September 2012, former Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty was appointed Andreessen Horowitz’s second special advisor. Fenty advises the firm’s portfolio companies on working with local, state, and federal governments.
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- Tam, Pui-Wing (26 September 2012). "Andreessen Horowitz’s New Political Mover-and-Shaker: Adrian Fenty". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 September 2012.