Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Balaji Srinivasan Joins Andreessen Horowitz as General Partner

Balaji Srinivasan, an emerging Silicon Valley thought leader, has been hired by the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner.

balaji-srinivasan-a16z-gp-windowSrinivasan was previously co-founder and CTO of the genetics-testing startup Counsyl, and he was a popular lecturer at Stanford on the theory and practice of startups after receiving BS, MS and PhD degrees from that university in electrical and chemical engineering.

He opined in a recent thought piece for Wired that online communities might in the future physically migrate to be near each other.

It’s a bit of a wilder idea than the normal Silicon Valley fare, with Srinivasan suggesting that tech-savvy people will create the next Silicon Valley in a new place, separate from the Muggles. He wrote:

“This is why location is becoming so much less important: technology is enabling us to access everything we need from our mobile phone, to find our true communities in the cloud, and to easily travel to assemble these communities in person. Taken together, we are rapidly approaching a future characterized by a totally new phenomenon, the reverse diaspora: one that starts out internationally distributed, finds each other online, and ends up physically concentrated.”

But the piece, titled “Software Is Reorganizing the World,” was in some ways a next chapter for the oft-cited 2011 essay by Andreessen Horowitz co-founder and general partner Marc Andreessen, called “Why Software Is Eating the World,” which talked about the potential for online services to transform all varieties of industries.

The provocative echo was a clear appeal. In an email, Andreessen compared Srinivasan to Peter Thiel, another investor with a huge IQ and something to say.

Srinivasan is “the founder/former CTO of a very successful ‘software eats X’ company — in this case software eats genetic testing for embryos — Counsyl — so right at the heart of our profile,” Andreessen explained. “Plus, entrepreneurs love him, particularly the really creative ones.”

Andreessen added, “He’s a super-high-octane polymath, with very broad interests. He particularly zeroes in on applications of software/Internet to real world problems — health care, money (Bitcoin), transportation, etc. ‘Atoms meets bits’ he calls it.”

Srinivasan is also looking to invest in online education, drones and 3-D printing, the firm said.

Srinivasan has been mentioned as the co-founder of a new stealth startup that raised $5 million earlier this year, one that would supposedly be related to his work around bitcoin. An Andreessen Horowitz spokeswoman said that company was started before Srinivasan met the firm, and that he will continue there in an advisory role.


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