On his blog today, Ben Horowitz, the hip-hop loving half of Andreessen Horowitz, confirmed the news that Dealbook broke last week: The new VC kid on the block did indeed raise $1.5 billion for a third venture fund.
In the post, which begins with an existential epigraph from Outkast about the meaning of life, Mr. Horowitz sets about answering two questions: “Why did such a new venture capital firm raise so much money?” and “How did such a new venture capital firm raise so much money?”
See now, we woulda gone with: “Where are you going to $$$$$pend it???”
Like the rappers he’s so fond of quoting, Mr. Horowitz starts by talking about his days on the streets as a lowly founding CEO who wasn’t respected by his investors. That was part of the motivation for launching Andreessen Horowitz.
“Marc and I share a simple belief that became the basis for our new venture capital firm: in general, founding CEOs perform better than professional CEOs over the long term, and a venture capital firm that enables founding CEOs to succeed would help build the best companies and yield superior investment returns.”
To that end, Andreessen Horowitz decided to open up its network so that it would provide, “firm-wide, dead simple to access and comprehensive—supported by operating partners who work full-time to develop and manage each branch of the network.” No more awkward conversations asking your VC to introduce you to potential customers. The results are paying off:
This approach has already lead to some stunning results:
- In 2011, we hosted over 600 portfolio presentations to corporate customers and partners at our office in Menlo Park. These presentations resulted in more than 3,000 introductions between portfolio companies and prospective Fortune 500/Global 2000 senior executives.
- We’ve built relationships with over 4,000 engineers, designers and product managers, and we’ve made more than 1,300 introductions to our portfolio companies, resulting in 130 hires within the portfolio.
- We added over 550 executives to our network in 2011 and made more than 300 executive introductions to our portfolio companies.
- We’ve had nearly 400 interactions with media on behalf of our portfolio companies.
As Mr. Horowitz wrote in a press release “a16z’s Fund III is all about extending our capabilities to more disruptors and pioneers,” adding, “We’re remaking the modern venture capital firm, and entrepreneurs are responding to our unique approach.”