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Marc Andreessen Launches VC Firm

Netscape founder Marc Andreessen has teamed up with long-time partner Ben Horowitz to launch an investment firm that will focus on technology startups. Andreessen Horowitz will begin with an initial capitalization of $300 million, Andreessen said in a blog post Sunday.

The fund, said Andreessen, is "aimed purely at investing in the best new entrepreneurs, products, and companies in the technology industry." Andreessen said the venture would not affect his current roles as chairman of social networking hub Ning and board member at Facebook and eBay.

Andreessen Horowitz will start out by making investments of between $50,000 and $50 million in individual companies.

"We plan to aggressively participate in funding brand new startups with seed-stage investments that will often be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. But we will also invest in venture stage and late stage rounds of high-growth companies," Andreessen wrote in his blog post. Andreessen and Horowitz will take board positions at some of the ventures funded by the firm.

Andreessen said his firm favors investing in startups founded by individuals with strong technical backgrounds and leadership potential.

"We are hugely in favor of the technical founder," Andreessen wrote. "We are hugely in favor of the founder who intends to be CEO. Not all founders can become great CEOs, but most of the great companies in our industry were run by a founder for a long period of time, often decades, and we believe that pattern will continue," he added.

The iconography of tech industry entrepreneurs who also were CEOs includes legends like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison.

A Silicon Valley pioneer himself, Andreessen has launched a number of notable ventures. Most famously, he founded browser-maker Netscape Communications in 1993. Netscape was ultimately sold to AOL for $4.2 billion.

Andreessen also founded cloud-services company Loudcloud, which was eventually split up and sold to Electronic Data Systems and Hewlett-Packard.

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Photo by Brian Solis.