Marc Andreessen

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Marc Andreessen
Marc Andreessen.jpg
Andreessen at the Tech Crunch40 conference in 2007
Born Marc Lowell Andreessen
(1971-07-09) July 9, 1971 (age 46)
Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Known for Developer of Mosaic
Founder of Netscape
Founder of Opsware
Founder of Andreessen Horowitz
Net worth Increase US$1.07 billion (2017)[1]
Spouse(s) Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen (m. 2006)
Children John (born in March 2015)[2]

Marc Lowell Andreessen[3] (/ænˈdrsən/ an-DREE-sən; born July 9, 1971) is an American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. He is the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used Web browser; co-founder of Netscape;[4] and co-founder and general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. Andreessen is also a co-founder of Ning, a company that provides a platform for social networking websites. He sits on the board of directors of Facebook,[5] eBay,[6] and Hewlett Packard Enterprise,[7] among others. Andreessen was one of six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame announced at the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web in 1994.[8][9]

Early life and education[edit]

Andreessen was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin.[10] He is the son of Patricia and Lowell Andreessen, who worked for a seed company.[11] In December 1993,[10] he received his bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.[12] As an undergraduate, he interned twice at IBM in Austin, Texas.[citation needed] He worked in the AIX graphics software development group which was responsible for the MIT X-windows implementation and ports of the 3D language API's: SGI's Graphics Language (GL) and PHIGS. He also worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, where he became familiar with Tim Berners-Lee's open standards for the World Wide Web. Andreessen and full-time salaried co-worker Eric Bina worked on creating a user-friendly browser with integrated graphics that would work on a wide range of computers. The resulting code was the Mosaic Web browser.

"In the Web's first generation, Tim Berners-Lee launched the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and HTML standards with prototype Unix-based servers and browsers. A few people noticed that the Web might be better than Gopher. In the second generation, Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina developed NCSA Mosaic at the University of Illinois. Several million then suddenly noticed that the Web might be better than Gopher." Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, August 21, 1995, Vol. 17, Issue 34.[13]


After his graduation from UIUC in 1993, Andreessen moved to California to work at Enterprise Integration Technologies. Andreessen then met with Jim Clark, the founder of Silicon Graphics, who had recently exited the firm. Clark believed the Mosaic browser had great commercial possibilities and suggested starting an Internet software company. Soon, Mosaic Communications Corporation was in business in Mountain View, California, with Andreessen as co-founder and vice president of technology. The University of Illinois was unhappy with the company's use of the Mosaic name, so Mosaic Communications changed its name to Netscape Communications, and its flagship Web browser was the Netscape Navigator.[citation needed]

In the year between the formation of the company and its IPO, Andreessen engaged in public outreach on behalf of his vision of the Web browser's potential.[citation needed] One of these events, hosted by Internet commercialization pioneer Ken McCarthy, was captured on video[14] and provides a look at the state of the Web between the time Andreessen and his colleagues launched Mosaic and the time when Web browsers and servers became mainstream commercial products. At the time of the recording, Andreessen was 23 years old.[citation needed]

Netscape's IPO in 1995 put Andreessen into the public eye. Featured on the cover of Time[15][16] and other publications,[17] Andreessen became the poster-boy wunderkind of the Internet bubble generation: young, twenty-something, high-tech, ambitious, and worth millions (or billions) of dollars practically overnight.[citation needed]

Netscape's success attracted the attention of Microsoft, which recognized the Web's potential and wanted to put itself at the forefront of the rising Internet revolution. Microsoft licensed the Mosaic source code from Spyglass, Inc., an offshoot of the University of Illinois, and turned it into Internet Explorer. The resulting battle between the two companies became known as the Browser wars. In 1997, Andreessen was featured on the cover of Interactive Week Magazine.[18]

Netscape was acquired in 1999 for $4.2 billion by AOL, which made Andreessen its Chief Technology Officer.[citation needed] The same year, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.[19]


After AOL acquired Netscape in late 1998, Andreessen went on to found Opsware with Ben Horowitz, Tim Howes, and In Sik Rhee.[20], originally named Loudcloud, a company providing computing, hosting and software services to consumer facing internet and e-commerce companies. Loudcloud sold its hosting business to EDS and changed its name to Opsware in 2003, with Andreessen serving as chairman. Acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007, it was one of the first companies to offer software as a service and to attempt cloud hosting.[21]

Andreessen Horowitz[edit]

Between 2005 and 2009, Andreessen and longtime business partner Ben Horowitz separately invested a total of $4 million in 45 start-ups that included Twitter and Qik.[22] The two became well known as super angel investors.[22] On July 6, 2009, Andreessen and Horowitz announced their Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.[23] The firm invests in entrepreneurs, products, and companies in the information technology industry.[24]

Begun with an initial capitalization of $300 million,[25] within three years the firm grew to $2.7 billion under management across three funds.[26] Andreessen Horowitz’s portfolio holdings include Facebook, Foursquare, GitHub, Pinterest, Twitter, and Honor, Inc..[27]

On September 1, 2009, an investor group that included Andreessen Horowitz acquired a majority stake in Skype for $2.75 billion,[28] which was considered risky.[29] The deal paid off in May 2011 when Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion.[29] Additionally, Andreessen and Horowitz made personal investments in headset maker Jawbone in 2006. The firm announced a $49 million investment in Jawbone in March 2011.[30] In February 2011, Andreessen Horowitz’s $80 million investment in Twitter[23] made it the first venture firm to hold stock in all four of the highest-valued, privately held social media companies (at that time): Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, and Zynga.[31]

Industry influence[edit]

Andreessen's experiences as an entrepreneur, investor, and board member at several large technology firms have positioned him to “draw insightful conclusions” about technology trends and help Andreessen Horowitz “stand out from the crowd” (The Economist).[32] Andreessen often advises the leaders of companies in which Andreessen Horowitz invests, including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Mark Pincus of Zynga.[32]

In 2010, notable Silicon Valley attorney Ted Wang created the first free standardized seed round financing documents, the Series Seed Documents.[33][34]

An op-ed piece Andreessen authored for The Wall Street Journal in August 2011, “Why Software Is Eating the World”, was widely circulated[35] and received over 445 comments[36] and prompted articles on the topic in The Economist[32] and other media outlets. In the Journal, Andreessen wrote about the growing importance of software to businesses of all types:

More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.

Andreessen and Horowitz were ranked no. six on Vanity Fair’s 2011 New Establishment List,[37] no. 1 on CNET’s 2011 most influential investors list[38] and no. 2 and 21, respectively, on the 2012 Forbes Midas List of Tech’s Top Investors.[39]

In April 2012, Andreessen and Andreessen Horowitz General Partners Ben Horowitz, Peter Levine, Jeff Jordan, John O’Farrell, and Scott Weiss pledged to donate half of their lifetime incomes from venture capital to charitable organizations.[40]

In 2012, Andreessen was named in the Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world assembled by Time.[41]

In 2013, Andreessen was one of five Internet and Web pioneers awarded the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.[42]

Current ventures[edit]

Andreessen cofounded and was chairman of Ning, the third company he established after Netscape and Loudcloud.[43] In September 2011, it was announced that Ning had been sold to Mode Media for a reported price of $150 million. Andreessen joined Glam Media’s board of directors following the sale.[44]

Andreessen is an investor in social news website Digg and several other technology startups such as Plazes, Netvibes, CastTV, Twitter, and the RockMelt browser launched in 2010.[45] He is a personal investor in companies including LinkedIn[36] and boutique bank Raine.[46]

Andreessen serves on the board of Facebook,[4] eBay, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Kno,[47] Stanford Hospital,[48] Bump Technologies, Anki,[49] Oculus VR,[50] Dialpad, and TinyCo.[51] He serves as advisor to Asana and director of CollabNet.[47][52]

Andreessen is a proponent of Bitcoin[53] and cryptocurrency[54] and has described the technology as "innovative and radical".[55] His venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has invested more than $227 million in bitcoin-related startups as of July 19, 2015.[56][57]

Personal life[edit]

Andreessen married Laura Arrillaga in 2006.[58] She is the founder of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund and daughter of Silicon Valley real estate billionaire John Arrillaga.

In 2012, Andreessen expressed some support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.[59] During the 2016 primary season, he endorsed Republican candidate Carly Fiorina,[60] but after Fiorina dropped out of the race, Andreessen switched his endorsement to the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, citing the Republican nominee Donald Trump's anti-immigration stance.[61][62]


In February 2016, Marc Andreessen posted a tweet in response to India's decision to apply net neutrality to Facebook's proposed project Free Basics. The tweet suggested that anti-colonialism had been catastrophic for the Indian people.[63] Andreessen later deleted the tweet following criticism from Indians and non-Indians alike (including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg).[63][64][65] Facebook spent millions advertising Free Basics to the Indian public.[66] The project failed due to violations, setting preferential tariffs in accessing content and setting up a "walled garden" on the internet.[67][68]


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  10. ^ a b Simone Payment, Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark: The Founders of Netscape, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2006, p. 15. ISBN 978-1-4042-0719-6.
  11. ^ Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark: The Founders of Netscape - Simone Payment - Google Books. Retrieved 2013-07-09 – via Google Books. 
  12. ^ "MARC L. ANDREESSEN". ENGINEERING AT ILLINOIS. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  13. ^ Roads and Crossroads of Internet History Chapter 4: Birth of the Web
  14. ^ [1], In 1994 Ken McCarthy held the first conference to discuss the commercial prospects available on the internet and internet marketing as a direct marketing medium.
  15. ^ "Netscape's Marc Andreessen". Time magazine. 1996-02-19. 
  16. ^ "At just 24, he appeared--barefoot and wearing a crown--on the cover of Time." Steve Hamm (1998-04-13). "The Education of Marc Andreessen". Businessweek. 
  17. ^ Alan Levenson (photo credit) (1998-04-13). "04/13/19 Cover Story". Businessweek. 
  18. ^[permanent dead link]
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  20. ^ Venkat, Girish. "Loudcloud: Early light on cloud computing". Business Tech News. CNET. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
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  25. ^ Tam, Pui-Wing (1 February 2012). "Andreessen's Firm Raises $1.5 Billion". Technology. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
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  27. ^ "Andreessen Horowitz, Matrix Partners Invest $11.2 Million in Meteor". News Release. MarketWatch. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
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  29. ^ a b Ovide, Shira (10 May 2011). "Microsoft-Skype Deal: Andreessen Horowitz Takes Victory Lap". Deal Journal. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  30. ^ Rusli, Evelyn M. (16 March 2011). "Andreessen Horowitz Makes a Bet on Jawbone". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  31. ^ "Who OWNS Facebook?". Home Page. Who OWNS Facebook?. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
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  34. ^ Olga Kharif. "Andreessen Horowitz, Ted Wang Launch Series Seed". Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
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  41. ^ McCracken, Harry (18 April 2012). "The 100 Most Influential People in the World". Time. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  42. ^ "2013 Winners Announced" Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering
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  45. ^ "Mosaic Developer, Netscape Founder Working on New Browser". 2009-08-14. 
  46. ^ Yarow, Jay. "Eric Schmidt, Sean Parker, Marc Andreessen Invest in Boutique Bank Raine". Investment. Business Insider. Archived from the original on 12 December 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  47. ^ a b "Marc L. Andreessen". Executive Profile. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  48. ^ "Silicon Valley Couple Pledge $27.5 Million Gift to Stanford Hospital for Cutting-Edge Emergency Care". News Release. Stanford Hospital & Clinics. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
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  50. ^ Chris Velazco (December 12, 2013). "Oculus VR Raises $75 Million To Help Bring Virtual Reality Goggles To The Masses". TechCrunch. 
  51. ^ "TinyCo Raises $18 Million From Andreessen Horowitz For Mobile Gaming". TechCrunch. 25 February 2011. 
  52. ^ Constine, Josh. "Marc Andreessen joins board of Dialpad, the desk phone killer". TechCrunch. 
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  54. ^ Dylan Love (January 21, 2014). "Marc Andreessen Has A Great Answer For Why Bitcoin Matters". 
  55. ^ Tanaya Macheel (October 17, 2014). "Why Marc Andreessen is Long on Bitcoin and Short on Apple Pay". 
  56. ^ Pete Rizzo (July 19, 2015). "10 VC Firms Betting Big on Bitcoin and the Blockchain". 
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  60. ^ CARLY for America (7 October 2015). "Marc Andreessen speaks about Carly Fiorina" – via YouTube. 
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  62. ^ Matt Weinberger (2016-06-15). "Marc Andreessen on why he's supporting Clinton over Trump: 'Is that a serious question?'". Business Insider. 
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  65. ^ Zuckerberg, Mark (February 10, 2016). "Mark Zuckerberg responds to Andreessen's tweet". 
  66. ^ Bhatia, Rahul (12 May 2016). "The inside story of Facebook's biggest setback" – via The Guardian. 
  67. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek (February 8, 2016). "Free Basics And Facebook's Waterloo In India". TechCrunch. 
  68. ^ Gilbert, David (23 December 2015). "Facebook's Free Basics Service Shut Down In India". International Business Times. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • pmarca, Andreessen's blog, launched June 2007