Andreessen Horowitz (also called a16z) is a private American venture capital firm, founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. The company is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.
Founding and partnering
Marc Andreessen (left) and Ben Horowitz (right) are the company's founders.
Between 2006 and 2010, Andreessen and Horowitz were active investors in technology companies. Separately, and together, they invested $80 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.
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.
As of March 27, 2014, the firm managed $4 billion in assets with the closing of its fourth fund at $1.5 billion.
In addition to Andreessen and Horowitz, the firm's general partners include John O'Farrell, Scott Weiss, Jeff Jordan, Peter Levine, Chris Dixon, Vijay Pande, Alex Rampell, Martin Casado and Andrew Chen.
In 2009, Andreessen Horowitz made its two first investments: one in business management SaaS developer Apptio and the other in 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 was sold to Microsoft in May 2011 for $8.5 billion.
In 2010, Andreessen Horowitz invested $10 million in cloud company Okta while leading its Series A Round.
In 2011, Andreessen Horowitz invested $80 million in Twitter, becoming the first venture firm that held stock in all four of the highest-valued, privately held social media companies at the time: Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, and Zynga. Andreessen Horowitz has also invested in Airbnb, Lytro, Jawbone, Belly, 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. In 2012 the firm invested in 156 companies, which included 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, e-commerce, education and enterprise IT (including cloud computing, security, and software as a service) industries.
In 2013, Andreessen Horowitz invested in Clinkle, Coinbase, Lyft, Oculus VR, One Month, PagerDuty Pixlee, Ripple, Soylent, Swiftype and uBiome.
In 2014, the firm led a $57 million Series B round in the A/B testing startup Optimizely, invested $90 million in company Tanium, invested $50 million in BuzzFeed, and led an $11.1 million Series A round in intent-based networking startup Forward Networks.
In 2015, the firm invested $40 million in Stack Exchange, $2.8 million in Distelli, $80 million in cloud-based CAD software company Onshape, $57 million in blogging platform Medium, $20 million in Improbable, $15 million in Honor, Inc., $1 million in a blockchain startup OpenBazaar, and $2 million in nootropics and biohacking company Nootrobox.
In 2016, the firm led an $8.1 million Series A round in Everlaw, a legal technology company, and led a $3.5 million Series Seed round in RapidAPI, an API connection platform for developers. The firm also invested $2 million in Cardiogram, a digital health company.
In 2017, the firm invested in Sigma, Health IQ, Asimov and Cadre.
In 2018, the firm invested in Imply, PeerStreet, CryptoKitties and Dfinity. In August 2018, Very Good Security received $8.5 million from Andreessen.
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 venture capital 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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- ^ "Andreessen Horowitz to Invest in Nootropics Start-Up", New York Times, December 3, 2015
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- ^ Lora Kolodny, "Cardiogram raises $2 million to predict heart health issues using wearables," TechCrunch, October 20, 2016.
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- ^ "CryptoKitties Wins $12 Million From Investors, Including Early Facebook Believer Andreessen Horowitz". Fortune. Retrieved .
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