Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Little Speakers, Big Bet: Andreessen Horowitz Invests $49 Million in Headset-Maker Jawbone

Little speakers, big bet: VC shop Andreessen Horowitz is putting $49 million into Jawbone, the company best known for its slim mobile headsets.

There aren’t any other investors joining Andreessen Horowitz in the round. The firm is perhaps best known for its high-profile bets in Web/media/software companies like Foursquare, Skype and Twitter (via secondary markets).

Partners Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz had both previously invested in Jawbone as individual angels; Horowitz will get a seat on the company’s board.

Jawbone has now raised around $100 million over a 10-year period. Most of the other money in the company has come from Sequoia Capital and Khosla Ventures.

Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman won’t spell out what the new money is earmarked for, other than products that fit into the “total mobile experience.”

But the company’s product history may suggest a roadmap: It started out with a single Jawbone headset, has since added two more, and then branched out with the Jambox, a wireless speaker box. Most recently, it rolled out a free “Thoughts” app, which lets users dictate quick messages and send them out via email or text.

“They have quite an advanced software platform, and the company has evolved, from an intellectual property standpoint, into what’s essentially a software company,” Horowitz says.

Here’s video of the company showing off the Jambox and its Thoughts software at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference last December:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik