Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Andreessen & Horowitz on Monster $1.5B Fund: Software (And Giant VCs) Ready to Chomp Everything!

Memo to the world from Silicon Valley legend and power-VC Marc Andreessen: “I think that this is more of the theme that software is going to be eating all other industries.”

More like chomping through them with renewed gusto, with the announcement today that his venture firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has raised a huge new $1.5 billion fund to continue to fund “extending our capabilities to more disruptors,” according to Andreessen’s longtime partner Ben Horowitz.

And by capabilities, the pair means handing from $10,000 to $100 million to Internet entrepreneurs in all kinds of arenas — such as its previous investments in Airbnb, Pinterest and a plethora of others — from its new third fund.

This large amount brings Andreessen Horowitz’s total in just three years to $2.7 billion, which Andreessen said took about the same amount of time to raise as the previous one. The new fund is made up of largely the same limited partners.

“It is almost double, but it sets us up well,” said Andreessen, who said the LPs urged them to raise more. “Our first fund was, as it turns out, undersized in terms of the growth opportunity we found.”

The interest from the firms’ LPs aligned, said Horowitz, noting that he thinks their interest was because investors are becoming more selective about firms.

“I think a lot of LPs have begun to think that there are too many VCs not worth investing in,” he said. “Many of them want to then invest in what they consider the best, and if they can’t get in, to not invest at all.”

To be able to give them the kind of returns those investors are expecting, Andreessen said that the investments — which will still be pretty much limited to the Internet arena and in California — will be stepped up to keep the rate of innovation going.

“The opportunities continue to be very, very good, and we find that that continues to be true,” he said. “And there is a big supply of money, and that’s very good from a company standpoint.”

What Andreessen and Horowitz said they will do to continue to differentiate themselves will be to keep on focusing on backing founder/CEOs over all.

“We have a lot of respect for our peers, but we have a different philosophy,” said Horowitz. “The majority of the companies we fund will be run by their founders.”

Andreessen said that philosophy is a bit of a throwback.

“It’s kind of like venture capitalists were in the ’60s and ’70s, in a way,” he said. “We are operators who back operators.”

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google