Marc Andreessen starts $300 million VC fund with Ben Horowitz

Ex-Netscape dude Marc Andreessen and old chum Ben Horowitz have started a $300 million VC fund. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers watch the eponymous Andreessen-Horowitz and wonder where the money's going.

By Richi Jennings: your humble blogwatcher, who selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention how the Norwegians advertise cellphones...

Om Malik chants the facts:

Marc Andreessen, the prominent founder of Netscape Communications, and his longtime business partner, Ben Horowitz, are teaming up again — this time to spearhead a new $300 million venture fund, called Andreessen-Horowitz, that will invest in companies of all shapes and sizes.

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Marc and Ben have a simple objective for their new fund: use their nimbleness — the fund will have just two general partners — to invest in companies that meet their view of the world.
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Bobbie Johnson snarks it up:

Andreessen - the former wunderkind who set the web on fire with his work on browsers in the early 90s - says that he has raised $300m to start the inspirationally named Andreeseen Horowitz. The fund will invest - largely around Silicon Valley - in web companies, and mould a generation of entrepreneurs to, well, be like him.

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There's certainly an appetite for what they're selling: investors are desperate to make some money right now and with a more-than-solid record of entrepreneurship (making around $6bn over the years with Netscape and Opsware) the duo offer speculators a good chance at guiding their cash into the right place. ... many of the duo's recent investments have been in (now) high-profile consumer names like Facebook, Twitter and Digg. ... However, as far as I can tell, none of these companies ... have yet managed to cash in on their hype.
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Kara Swisher wants you to know she broke the rumor:

Several weeks ago, [I] broke the news that the Silicon Valley legend and serial entrepreneur (pictured here) and his longtime investing partner, Ben Horowitz, had completed the raising of $300 million for a new venture fund.

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[They plan] about 60 to 80 seed investments, 15 that need following rounds and two to three late-stage companies. In addition, the firm is also able to take large equity stakes in public companies. ... [It will] focus on companies led by tech-savvy founders. ... Andreessen said he was essentially professionalizing the active angel investing that he and Horowitz had been doing.
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Matt Marshall muses:

Few venture firms are able to raise money these days. Large institutional investors, such as pension funds and university endowments, which have typically supplied money to venture firms, have pulled back — because most venture firms have lost money over the past decade.

That Andreessen and Horowitz have raised money in this environment reflects the respect Andreessen enjoys as one the valley’s great entrepreneurs. ... [They] have already accomplished the hardest part of becoming a top-ranked venture firm: Having profile and great connections. Now the firm will have to put in hard work to generate profits, but it has a huge head-start: Many entrepreneurs will be sure to court the firm because of Andreessen’s reputation.
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Marc Andreessen is the horse's mouth:

Technology and its advancement is absolutely central to human progress. Entrepreneurs who create new technologies and technology companies are improving the standard of living of people worldwide and unlocking amazing new levels of human potential. While broad investor psychology whips wildly between euphoria and depression, technology change not only continues but is accelerating. In fact, we believe that technology change cascades -- each new generation of technology continues within it the seeds for even more profound advances to come.

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The process of building a new technology company is changing rapidly. For example, many of the best new technology companies require far less money up front to build the first product, but far more money later to scale into today's enormous global market, as compared to historical norms.
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Sarah Lacy finds a 404:

Here’s a fun fact: they don’t currently have a website, and apparently they aren’t sure they will have one in the future. For now they’ve reserved a16z.com for use if they do ever launch a site. Basically, if you don’t already know Andreessen or Horowitz, or know someone who knows them, getting in contact with them is going to be…difficult.

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$300 million ... [is] pretty big for a first-time fund and gargantuan when you consider there are only two general partners, Andreessen and Horowitz. ... [But] they're not meddlers. Because there are just two of them, Horowitz and Andreessen won’t always take board seats. If they pick the right entrepreneurs, Andreessen argues they shouldn’t have to.
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So how much would you like?
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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