Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

The Three Ventureers: Andreessen Horowitz Joining Conway and Milner in Y Combinator Start Fund

Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz said today that it was joining well-known investors Ron Conway and DST Global’s Yuri Milner in the Y Combinator Start Fund, which gives $150,000 to each start-up in its semi-annual group.

Andreessen Horowitz will be investing $50,000 of the total in each entrepreneurial effort, starting with the next “class” of up to five dozen companies later this month in the well-regarded incubator.

The money comes in the form of convertible debt, which is a loan that can convert if a start-up raises a funding round. Start-ups can refuse the money, although most do not.

“I can’t tell you how impressed we have been with the quality of the start-ups that Y Combinator has had,” said Marc Andreessen in an interview with me this afternoon. “[Co-founders Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston] have become the consigliere to a whole new generation of entrepreneurs.”

Indeed. Y Combinator assembles these start-ups twice a year, giving them about $15,000 to work on their idea, but — more importantly — providing a lot of support and entree to powerful investors in Silicon Valley. Its efforts have been critical to the beginnings of many successful companies, such as Reddit, Loopt and Scribd.

“So many of the high quality seed deals have been coming from Y Combinator and we wanted to be close to all those companies,” said Andreessen. “It’s a great view of what’s coming next from the very best start-ups.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work