Marc Andreessen joins board of Dialpad, the desk phone killer

dialpad Silicon Valley’s most talkative investor will bring his enterprise experience and connections to the makers of UberConference. Office cloud communications startup Dialpad today announced that Marc Andreessen is joining its board of directors. “The company’s hit its stride” Andreessen tells TechCrunch. He calls DialPad “A complete cloud, mobile business… Read More

Andreessen: “I feel 50 pounds lighter” without Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Entrepreneur Marc Andreessen speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016 at Pier 48 on September 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch) Speaking at a Strictly VC event in Palo Alto, noted venture capital investor Marc Andreessen talked about why he abruptly quit Twitter this week. “I feel 50 pounds lighter” without it, he quipped. “I feel free as a bird,” Andreessen added, seemingly referencing Twitter’s logo. His departure came as a surprise to some because for a time, he was extremely active on… Read More

Marc Andreessen suddenly deletes all his tweets, goes on Twitter break

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Entrepreneur Marc Andreessen speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016 at Pier 48 on September 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch) The Twittersphere was just a little bit quieter this morning after Marc Andreessen, father of the Tweetstorm, vacated the platform last night. While there’s no clear answer from him or others as to why he decided to take a break, Andreessen is not the first popular Silicon Valley figure to abruptly leave the service. Earlier this summer, Sam Altman, President of the Y Combinator… Read More

Tech’s top 20 investors turned into emoji

VC Emoji What do Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway and Naval Ravikant look like as emojis? For the launch of MovieLaLa‘s emoji marketplace MojiLaLa, the startup made a set inspired by tech’s best-known venture capitalists. The list could have included more of the great female and minority VCs like Mary Meeker, Charles Hudson and Aileen Lee. But here’s a look at caricatures of the 20 they chose. Read More

The Tech Alimentary Canal Is Full

Interesting thoughts from Marc Andreessen and Steve Case. Of course, a cynic would say they are talking their book since they make money when companies exit or IPO. However, I see some things happening that might bear out their opinion.
  1. Government regulation has come down on corporate America like a ton of bricks. Budgets, resources, and people are being redeployed to fend of, implement and understand the regulatory state. This has made it almost impossible for corporate America to innovate from within.
  2. Corporate balance sheets are in pretty darn good shape. They have taken advantage of low interest rates and they are flush with cash. They can buy innovation, and they are starting to do it.

If you listen to the video, you hear questions like, “Which way will it go?”, or “We have 163 Unicorns, what will happen?”. Truth be told, nobody knows. Instead, I Continue reading "The Tech Alimentary Canal Is Full"

The Daily Startup: Investor Stakes in Education Tech Boom in 2015

The education technology sector chalked up $1.42 billion in investments last year, the most amount of dollars booked since 2000, the peak of the dot-com boom, according to industry tracker Dow Jones VentureSource. Education technology Investments jumped 69.9% in 2015 from the $836.4 million dispensed in 2014, according to the data. By far the largest amount of investment dollars went to companies developing educational training and media services aimed at corporations. Investors put $1.3 billion into these companies working on corporate training and lifelong learning programs, about double from the $643.3 million invested in 2014. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): DataRobot Inc., which is automating the analysis of big data that is often done manually or with lower-order tools by data scientists Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Investor Stakes in Education Tech Boom in 2015"

The Daily Startup: Big Bets Continue in Venture Despite Exit Concerns

Investors piled 19.05 billion into U.S.-based venture-backed companies in the third quarter amid growing concerns over valuations and exit markets, Scott Martin reports for The Wall Street Journal. U.S. venture investments soared to $54.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, on pace to blow past the $55.5 billion for 2014. The numbers are still likely to be below the record $94.17 billion invested in 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom.
The increased investment amount comes amid a dearth of initial public offerings as well as mergers and acquisitions for venture-backed companies. It also comes in a year that has seen an uptick in the number of private companies that are valued at $1 billion or more. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Decibel Therapeutics has launched with $52 million in venture funding and a goal of providing people with severe Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Big Bets Continue in Venture Despite Exit Concerns"

OpenGov Picks Up $25 Million More And Adds Marc Andreessen To The Board

Marc Andreessen OpenGov announced the close of a refreshingly sized $25 million in Series C financing today. The startup initiative to provide government financial data closed its Series B round of $15 million, led by Andreessen Horowitz a year and a half ago. A16z, along with former investors Formation8, Thrive Capital and AITV, has now padded OpenGov with another shot of financing to help scale the sales… Read More

Are Market Black Swans Like Startup Unicorns?

The stock market has had a bit of turmoil the last couple of weeks.  It was reported that Nassim Taleb’s fund made $1B dollars in the huge drop last Monday.  That’s a pretty great headline number and if I was a fund manager seeking new clients I’d have a publicist barking up every tree. Post 2008 crash, I read Taleb’s book on Black Swans and a lot of it made sense until it didn’t.  When Taleb starts to take issue with EMH and the rational investor, I differ.  I think he is wrong about that.  But, as a trader, I admired his strategy. At the same time, without a huge wad of cash cushion, his strategy is not able to be executed by mortals. Essentially, this is how it works.  You go into the index option markets and you find put options that you discern as “cheap” relative to the
Continue reading "Are Market Black Swans Like Startup Unicorns?"

There Is No Silicon Valley Crash Coming — For A While

field of grass and perfect sky Talk of the bubble bursting eventually surfaces with every successful market. When valuations are increasing exponentially, excitement is building to a fever pitch, and companies are sprouting seemingly overnight — it’s almost like everyone becomes afraid that success won’t last. Read More

a16z Podcast: When Bio Meets Computer Science – with Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon, and Vijay Pande

  Biology startups have been around for a long time. But the world has changed since that first wave of bio startups, and especially more recently, due to the “peace dividends of the smartphone wars”. So what happens when you combine those cheap sensors and compute power — and apply it to bio? Cheaper costs and Moore’s Law-like effects may mean lower barriers to entry, the ability to experiment more often and more easily, and other AWS-like effects for a new wave of bio company founders. But is all this just about cost … or about something more? And how do we know if this time is really different when it comes to bio startups? On this episode of the a16z Podcast, a16z partners Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon, and Vijay Pande discuss how everything changes when software eats biology — that is, when computer science is at the heart of bio companies. Pande also shares three trends we think are particularly interesting: “digital therapeutics”, “cloud bio”, and “computational biomedicine”.

ClearStory Data Names Tim Howes as First CTO

ClearStory Chief Technology Officer Tim Howes
ClearStory Data

Big-data software company ClearStory Data Inc. has named long-time Silicon Valley technologist Dr. Timothy Howes as chief technology officer, the company told VentureWire.

Dr. Howes, who has a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan and is the author or co-author on six patents, has also held CTO positions at Netscape Communications Inc. (acquired by AOL Inc.), Opsware Inc. (acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co.), HP’s enterprise software business and RockMelt Inc. (acquired by Yahoo Inc.).

Part of his attraction to ClearStory, whose software aggregates, harmonizes and presents both internal and external data for customers including Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Merck & Co. Inc., is its unusual approach to solving a big problem, he said.

Unlike other big data software, ClearStory “automates what used to be manual and expensive, [freeing users from the IT department and Continue reading "ClearStory Data Names Tim Howes as First CTO"

The Religion of Silicon Valley

There has been a lull in the chanting that “Silicon Valley is the center of the tech universe.” I’m in Boulder for the next three weeks and I woke up pondering something Ben Casnocha said to me the last time we were together.

“Silicon Valley is a religion, just like Crossfit is a religion.”

This has stuck with me for a long time and I’ve read many posts about Silicon Valley through this lens. For a quick frame of reference test, try these three:

I’ve been trying to decide the best phrase to describe the phenomenon around Silicon Valley. All of the easy phrases: culture, dynamics, ecosystem – either feel wrong or are too limiting. Religion

Continue reading "The Religion of Silicon Valley"

“Twitter is an amazing conduit. It’s a direct pipeline to the entire community of founders, to…”

“Twitter is an amazing conduit. It’s a direct pipeline to the entire community of founders, to the press, and to the customers our companies sell to. And I really enjoy it. I’m sort of a hybrid introvert/extrovert. I’m an introvert when it comes to face-to-face conversations. But something that lets you talk to 83,000 people while you’re wearing your boxer shorts and drinking a glass of Scotch? What could be better?”

- Marc Andreessen, talking about his love of Twitter.

Pattern Recognition: Works in Trading and in VC

This is an interesting clip by Professor Steve Blank from Stanford.  He is talking about entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, but he easily could be talking about trading.  Pattern recognition keeps technical analyst traders in business.

One skill that successful floor traders were extremely keen with was pattern recognition.   Seeing something happen and taking advantage of it-then knowing when the pattern broke.  I remember trading Eurodollars ($GE_F) in the late 80’s and for a while, every time the Japanese Yen ($JY_F) moved one way, the Eurodollars would move the other way.  Few saw the pattern and so it was easy to create an edge for yourself.

I recall another time I saw all these things line up at once.  No one else saw it.  I started buying everything I could in the market.  I turned to spread some of my position off and another trader grabbed me by the back of my neck and screamed, “Sold”.  I turned and said, “Buy 1000″. By the time we could card them up the market was moving higher in a hurry.  The blood drained out of his face.  I made money.

When the pattern broke down, lots of people lost money.  It’s key to know when the underlying market is changing.  I think that electronic trading makes it a lot more difficult for humans to recognize patterns and take advantage of them.

I think this is why you are hearing so much talk about tech bubbles and other bubbles today.  People are seeing similar repeats of patterns they saw before.  It’s awfully hard to predict which company is going to be the next billion dollar company.  It’s also awfully hard to predict which company will go bust that currently is a billion dollar company without inside information.

The other thing to remember about pattern recognition is that the big money is made when you are first to recognize a new pattern. Not only do you have to recognize it, but you have to have the courage to take advantage of it.  Usually a when a new paradigm emerges, there are no hard and fast definitive data points that will tell you the move is right.  That’s where gut feel comes in.   It’s also where Chance IV comes in.  Successful traders were really good at putting disparate pieces of a puzzle together to create something new.

New patterns also invite ridicule.  Your friends will tell you that you are insane.  People will tell you that you are wrong.  That’s why you have to be comfortable being away from the herd.

In trading, feedback was received in a relatively short period of time.  The investment is also liquid.  You can get out if Continue reading "Pattern Recognition: Works in Trading and in VC"

Marc Andreessen: Venture capital is not for everybody, but when it works…

Marc Andreessen Fortune Live Media Flickr

Marc Andreessen thinks venture capital is great for entrepreneurs.

That’s no surprise, coming from the entrepreneur who cofounded Netscape, Ning, Opsware — all venture-backed companies — and then went on to cofound Andreessen Horowitz, one of the biggest VC firms in Silicon Valley right now.

More to the point, Andreessen thinks VC, while not a panacea, is actually one of the most founder-favorable kinds of financing there is.

His tweetstorm starts by pointing out a common theme among critics of VC: that it creates misalignment between the goals of the entrepreneur and those of the investor.

“A common trope in discussions about startups & venture capital is a potential misalignment of incentives between startup team & investors,” Andreessen said.

He doesn’t think Continue reading "Marc Andreessen: Venture capital is not for everybody, but when it works…"

What It Will Take to Create the Next Great Silicon Valleys (Plural)

Photo: Patrick Nouhailler/ Flickr

 

The popular recipe for creating the “next” Silicon Valley goes something like this:

*Build a big, beautiful, fully equipped technology park;
*Mix in R&D labs and university centers;
*Provide incentives to attract scientists, firms, and users;
*Interconnect the industry through consortia and specialized suppliers;
*Protect intellectual property and tech transfer; and
*Establish a favorable business environment and regulations.

Except … this approach to innovation clusters hasn’t really worked. Some have even dismissed these government-driven efforts as “modern-day snake oil.” Yet policymakers are always searching for the next Silicon Valley because of the critical link between tech innovation, economic growth, and social opportunity. MORE


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