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Andreessen uses his investment office to back Web3, blockchain, the metaverse…and more

Few back cutting edge technology with the passion of Marc Andreessen, best known for his $18.8 billion venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, but also a direct investor building on his sale of web browser Netscape Navigator for $9.5 billion in 1999, at the peak of the internet bubble.

Andreessen’s single-family office – name unknown – is understood to be based in Louisville, a suburb of Denver, Colorado.  His current approach to investing is influenced by his passion for the blockchain ledger system which has led to the cryptocurrencies, NFTs, the metaverse and Web3, which aims to dilute the power of Google and Facebook so that individuals can own and control their data.

Another of Andreessen’s recent investments saw him backing Chicago-based Sfermion who raised $100 million to back NFTs

In 2018, Andreessen invested in Multicoin Capital alongside investors like David Sacks, the first COO at PayPal Holdings, and Elad Gil, co-founder of genomic testing company Color Genomics.

Multicoin is an asset management firm with a positive view of digital currencies. Late last year, it co-led a $4 million seed round with Electric Capital Solscan alongside Jump Capital and Sequoia Capital. Solscan operates on the trendy Solana blockchain and receives 180 million data requests per month. 

Another of Andreessen’s recent investments saw him backing Chicago-based Sfermion who raised $100 million to back NFTs. Sfermion was established by Andrew Steinwold in 2019 and is considered a pioneer and thought leader in the fast-evolving NFT investing space.  

The fund also attracted investment from bitcoin pioneers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. 

Last year Andreessen launched his ‘a16z fund’ because there are 16 letters separating the start of the names of its founders. The fund will form the architecture of the next generation of the web, which a16z defines as “a group of technologies that encompasses blockchain, cryptographic protocols, digital assets, decentralized finance and social platforms”. Data will be conveyed through decentralised peer-to-peer networks, rather than through Google and Facebook. 

According to a CB Insights report, “The Future According to Andreessen Horowitz”, the firm made 43 blockchain and crypto-related investments this year compared to six in 2020. These investments span numerous industries including financial services, enterprise, fintech, consumer, media and entertainment and healthcare. 

Part of a16z’s investment strategy involves backing companies that operate in decentralized publishing (illustrated by Substack) social media platforms, digital asset marketplaces, and NFT marketplaces (Dapper Labs). Non-fungible tokens are essentially digital assets that use blockchain technology to provide authentication of ownership of real-world assets, such as artworks.   

Marc Andreessen is the more vocal and active of the two co-founders when it comes to media engagement. Standing 6ft 5in, he speaks with the passion of a domain specialist. His enthusiasm for technology, and finding ways to harness its potential, knows no bounds. He has referred to crypto as a “technological transformation”, with bitcoin representing a new financial system.

He lives in a 9,000 square foot house five minutes from the Andreessen Horowitz office in Atheton, California with his wife Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen – daughter of Silicon Valley real estate billionaire John Arrillaga – and daughter. He is known to admire his father-in-law for self-financing his real estate projects and regularly seeks his counsel.

Last October, he broke the record for the most expensive property in Malibu, California, when he bought apparel mogul Serge Azria’s home for $177 million. 

Born in 1971 in the city of Cedar Falls (population circa 40,000) located in the Black Hawk County of Iowa, Andreessen spent his formative years growing up in rural Wisconsin. When he was nine years old, he taught himself BASIC programming from a library book. 

After graduating from school, Andreessen studied computer science at the University of Illinois.

During his student years, Andreessen became a part-time assistant at the University’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) where he wrote UNIX code for $6.85 an hour. It was here that he became familiar with Berners-Lee’s open standards for the World Wide Web and with the help of his colleagues, Andreessen created a browser that would work on different computer systems.

It was named Mosaic and would end up becoming the progenitor of Netscape Communications, backed by Jim Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics, later Netscape Navigator. 

In 1995, the company had a successful IPO at $28/share. Its stock reached an intraday high of $75 before finally closing at $58.25, giving Netscape a market value of $2.9 billion. By mid-1996, Netscape owned 75% of the marketplace for internet search engines. 

His star rose to prominence in 1996 when he featured on the front cover of the now-famous “Golden Geeks” edition of Time magazine, where he sat barefoot on a throne. AOL agreed to acquire it for $4.2 billion in 1999, providing Andreessen with his first windfall.

Andreessen started Loudcloud in September 1999 alongside Ben Horowitz and Tim Howes. The firm was, according to Wired magazine, the first company of its kind to talk about cloud computing and software-as-a-service. It was later renamed Opsware and acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007.

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