Horowitz hosts an AMA on Product Hunt. On his mentors:
At this point in my life, I would probably refer to them as friends rather than mentors. Bill Campbell and Andy Grove are probably the two that I have learned the most from. Andy’s whole life is a great lesson in how I should live mine. The way that Bill listens to people is so advanced that I learn something every time I’m with him. There are other people on other fields. Like Nas. Nas has the ability to see the world in such a radically different perspective. We can listen to the same song and he’ll hear 30 things that I didn’t.
On a Silicon Valley bubble:
Having been CEO in 2001, I don’t think that we’re anywhere near where we were then. Valuations have gotten high in certain tech sectors in the private markets only, but they have actually corrected themselves pretty quickly. For example, enterprise software started to get over valued privately, but after several companies went public at lower valuations than their last private rounds, the private markets corrected as well. I don’t see a massive crash on the horizon like 2001. In 2001, Nasdaq lost 80% of its value. I’ll bet any bubble believer everything that I have that Nasdaq won’t drop 80% in the next 5 years.
Horowitz and Dalgaard appear at San Francisco’s Glide church to support the #PoweredbyLove campaign fundraiser. The VC’s discuss strategies for bridging S.F.’s growing “digital, and hence economic, divide.” Horowitz says:
Look at Mark Zuckerberg. He didn’t take his earnings and spend it on a fancy new car or home. He took his first $100 million and gave it to the Newark school system.
Horowitz, West and Stoute discuss creative platforms
Divine releases a music video, Venture Capitalist (Like Ben Horowitz), paying tribute to Horowitz and quoting his inspirational messages. Divine says he recently sought out Horowitz on Twitter:
And lo and behold he wrote me back and this was like a two-hour conversation of tweets back and forth. Rakim is one of Ben’s favorite rappers and I just came from doing a show with [Rakim] in January and so [Ben] just started pinging me back and forth. I say, “I’m reaching out cuz initially I wanted you to invest in my record label but now that’s not what I want. I want you to mentor me.”
Horowitz explains that the key innovation of Bitcoin and the reason Silicon Valley is investing in companies connected to it is the so-called double spending problem.
If you give me the coin, I know that you gave it to me and nobody else. Traditionally, we have someone like Visa who keeps a ledger, and you have to pay a big fee […] in Bitcoin there is no central thing or fee
The company announces Series F funding from its existing roster including SV Angel, Bessemer, Fidelity, Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital, and Valiant Capital Partners. Total financing is $764 million, and the company is working on building out its ad monetization system and its search functions.
Pinterest starts Promoted Pins to add revenue, appearing in users’ search and category feeds. The mix of brands reflects activity on the site. Fashion features heavily, with Gap, Banana Republic, Lululemon Athletica, and Old Navy participating. Food makers Nestle , Kraft, and General Mills are also participating, along with Expedia.com and Walt Disney resorts in the travel category.
Horowitz publishes The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, a collection of writings based on his blogs and drawing inspiration from rap artists. Horowitz says he is inspired by Andy Grove’s Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company to expand on the real issues entrepreneurs face.
I would have never wanted to write another management book. There are so many of them and everybody says the same thing about them, and they are all the same — they give the exact same advice. It’s like a diet book, they all say eat less calories, exercise more, and every single book has the same conclusion. So I didn’t want to write another one of those. But having been on the other side I really felt like there was a missing book, which was what happens when everything goes wrong, and you have set it all up right.
The firm invests in Rap Genius, a site which provides annotated rap lyrics. The investment is announced in an annotated press release on the site by Andreesen which recognizes Horowitz’s love for the genre:
Given that Rap Genius is a web site where people explain rap lyrics, and given that my partner Ben is a noted rap fanatic, your first reaction might be, “That Horowitz guy has completely lost his mind.” I, on the other hand, find rap every bit as comprehensible as ancient Mesopotamian. That’s why I’m writing this blog post – not him.
The six partners of Andreessen Horowitz pledge half of their lifetime income to charity. As part of the announcement, the partners donate $1 million to six Silicon Valley nonprofits. Horowitz says:
The idea behind it is to lead by example. It’s a show of appreciation for everyone in Silicon Valley.
The move is highly influenced by Andreessen’s wife, Laura Arillaga-Andreessen who had publishes a philanthropy book, Giving 2.0, the year before.
CNET ranks Andreesen and Horowitz on its “entirely subjective” list of 2011’s most influential tech investors, focusing on the Skype sale:
My favorite Andreessen-Horowitz play of 2011 involves a little Internet payback. Andreessen and team sold Skype–which they’d bought control of with a group of investors in 2009–to Microsoft for $8.5 billion. Andreessen and his team more than tripled a $50 million investment in 18 months.s
Freelance staffing platform Elance names Horowitz’s blog to its list of 40 Entrepreneur Blogs You Should Be Reading:
Ben Horowitz is a successful entrepreneur turned venture capitalist and the co-founder of the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. His blog is only updated about twice a month, but the information he provides are must-reads if you are interested in venture funding for startups.
Business Insider reports that among the investors in the fund are AOL, Conway, Milner, Benchmark Capital, Horowitz, Andreessen, Redpoint, and Sequoia.
Vanity Fair names Horowitz and Andreesen to its 2011 New Establishment list, which identifies those individuals making contributions as
The Age of Information gives way to a burgeoning Age of Technology.
Mark Zuckerberg takes the top spot.
Andreessen Horowitz and lawyer Ted Wang launch Series Seed Documents, templated documents which entrepreneurs can use for seed-stage deals. Andreessen Horowitz is the first to agree to use the documents. Andreessen says:
We want to make the process as transparent as possible, which is to say, we want to take all the mystery out it. And it is online for everyone to understand.
The documents are designed for early rounds between $500,000 and $1 million.
Andreessen and Horowitz launch Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm. The two are well known investors, backing half a dozen startups each year, including social investing site kaChing, virtual worlds company Metaplace, mobile video company Qik, online publishing company Crowdfusion, dating site I’minlikewithyou, search company Blekko and media/technology company EQAL.
Following HP’s purchase of Opsware, Horowitz joins the company as Vice President and General Manager, Business Technology Optimization, Software, Technology Solutions Group.
Horowitz sells Opsware (formerly Loudcloud) to Hewlett-Packard Co. for approximately $1.6 billion. The cash tender deal values the company at $14.25 per share, making it the third-largest acquistion in HP’s history. Opsware has 350 customers and 550 staff, which HP intends to take on as part of the deal. Tom Hogan, senior VP of software at HP, says:
The acquisition of Opsware is intended to enable HP Software to help our customers resolve one of their critical pain points: controlling the increasing complexity and cost of managing the data center.
Andreessen announces the formation of Loudcloud, a company based in Menlo Park, California, that provides high-performance computing and software services to Internet and e-commerce companies. Loudcloud is later recognized as the first company to conceive of the “cloud” paradigm. Andreessen teams up with several ex-Netscape employees, including Loudcloud’s co-founder and CEO, Ben Horowitz. Andreessen is listed as the company’s co-founder and chairman. According to reports, Loudcloud is privately funded by Andreessen and other employees.
Horowitz joins Netscape as one of the company’s first product managers. At the company, he meets future partner Marc Andreessen. Scott Dunlap, LoudCloud executive, says:
Horowitz was the manager everyone at Netscape wanted to work for. The great VPs of Netscape all came out of Ben Horowitz. Ben helped people build careers and pulled together teams better than anyone else.
After graduation, Horowitz joins Silicon Graphics full-time as an engineer, working at the company until 1992.
Horowitz graduates from the UCLA Engineering school with an MS.
Getting an education at UCLA made it obvious that there was some incredible amount of opportunity still left in computer science and still left in building new software based companies and that we were just at the beginning. My education at UCLA exposed me to almost everything that was going on in computer science at the time. All the things I learned really helped me to understand and gave me the foundation to succeed.
Horowitz graduates from Columbia University with a B.A. in Computer Science. During his time at the university, he forms a hip-hop group called Blind and Def with two friends and records a four-track tape, going by the moniker “Tic-Toc”.
Horowitz gets an internship at computer startup Silicon Graphics through a family connection with CEO Ken Coleman. He says he was not properly prepared for the experience and constantly expected to be fired:
Unfortunately, I had not been properly socialized for life inside a big corporation. As the son of a new left radical (who later completely switched sides), I was combat trained. If somebody said something that I didn’t agree with, I wouldn’t hesitate to attack them ruthlessly, call their ideas stupid or personally insult them. I couldn’t help it. It was how I was raised. It was like I was Huey P. Newton and everybody else was The Man. I am quite sure that I would have and should have been fired several times, but for some reason Ken Coleman took an interest in me and smoothed things over whenever I got myself into trouble. He was my personal guardian angel. He helped me to build my life and career doing what I loved.
Horowitz is born in London. His father, David was raised by high-school teachers who were members of the Communist Party USA and supporters of Joseph Stalin. From 1956 to 1975 his father was an outspoken adherent of the New Left before rejecting leftism completely and becoming a conservative commentator.
Ben’s mother is Horowitz’s first wife, Elissa Krauthamer. They married on June 14, 1959. Ben has four siblings: Jonathan Daniel, Anne Pilat and Sarah Rose Horowitz, who dies in 2008.