Marc Andreessen

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Marc Andreessen
Marc Andreessen.jpg
Andreessen at the Tech Crunch40 conference in 2007
Born Marc Lowell Andreessen
(1971-07-09) July 9, 1971 (age 47)
Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Known for Mosaic, founder of Netscape,
Venture capitalist
Net worth IncreaseUS$600 Million (est. 2015)[1]
Spouse(s) Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen (m. 2006)
Children John (born in March 2015)[2]

Marc Lowell Andreessen[3] (/ænˈdrsən/ an-DREE-sən; born July 9, 1971) is an American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. He is best known as coauthor of Mosaic, the first widely used Web browser; as cofounder of Netscape;[4] and as cofounder and general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. Andreessen is also a cofounder of Ning, a company that provides a platform for social networking websites. He sits on the board of directors of Facebook,[5] eBay,[6] and HP,[7] among others. A frequent keynote speaker and guest at Silicon Valley conferences, Andreessen is one of only six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame announced at the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web in 1994.[8][9]

Early life and education

Andreessen was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin,[10] the son of Patricia and Lowell Andreessen, who worked for a seed company.[11] In December 1993,[10] he received his bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. As an undergraduate, he interned one summer at IBM in Austin, Texas. He also worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, where he became familiar with Tim Berners-Lee's open standards for the World Wide Web. Andreessen and a full-time salaried co-worker Eric Bina worked on creating a user-friendly browser with integrated graphics that would work on a wide range of computers. The resulting code was the Mosaic Web browser.

"In the Web's first generation, Tim Berners-Lee launched the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and HTML standards with prototype Unix-based servers and browsers. A few people noticed that the Web might be better than Gopher.

In the second generation, Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina developed NCSA Mosaic at the University of Illinois. Several million then suddenly noticed that the Web might be better than sex.

In the third generation, Andreessen and Bina left NCSA to found Netscape..."

— Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, August 21, 1995, Vol. 17, Issue 34.[12]


After his graduation from UIUC in 1993, Andreessen moved to California to work at Enterprise Integration Technologies. Andreessen then met with Jim Clark, the recently departed founder of Silicon Graphics. Clark believed the Mosaic browser had great commercial possibilities and suggested starting an Internet software company. Soon, Mosaic Communications Corporation was in business in Mountain View, California, with Andreessen as cofounder and vice president of technology. The University of Illinois was unhappy with the company's use of the Mosaic name, so Mosaic Communications changed its name to Netscape Communications, and its flagship Web browser was the Netscape Navigator.

In the year between the formation of the company and its IPO, Andreessen engaged in extensive public outreach on behalf of his vision of the Web browser's potential, something he had in fact done continuously since making the decision to distribute Mosaic for free via the Internet.

One of these events, hosted by Internet commercialization pioneer Ken McCarthy, was captured on video[13] and provides a unique look at the state of the Web between the time Andreessen and his colleagues launched Mosaic and the time when Web browsers and servers became mainstream commercial products. At the time of the recording, Andreessen was 23 years old.

Netscape's IPO in 1995 propelled Andreessen into the imagination of the public. Featured on the cover of Time[14][15] and other publications,[16] Andreessen became the poster-boy wunderkind of the Internet bubble generation: young, twenty-something, high-tech, ambitious, and worth millions (or billions) of dollars practically overnight.

Netscape's success attracted the attention of Microsoft, which recognized the Web's potential and wanted to put itself at the forefront of the rising Internet revolution. Microsoft licensed the Mosaic source code from Spyglass, Inc., an offshoot of the University of Illinois, and turned it into Internet Explorer. The resulting battle between the two companies became known as the Browser wars. In 1997, Andreessen was featured on the cover of Interactive Week Magazine.[17]

Netscape was acquired in 1999 for $4.2 billion by AOL, which made Andreessen its Chief Technology Officer. The same year, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.[18]


Andreessen left AOL to form Loudcloud with Ben Horowitz, Tim Howes, and In Sik Rhee.[19] Loudcloud was a services-based Web hosting company that made an IPO in 2001. Loudcloud sold its hosting business to EDS and changed its name to Opsware in 2003, with Andreessen serving as chairman. Opsware was purchased by Hewlett-Packard in September 2007 for about $1.6 billion.

Andreessen Horowitz

Between 2005 and 2009, Andreessen and longtime business partner Ben Horowitz separately invested a total of $4 million in 45 start-ups that included Twitter and Qik.[20] The two became well known as super angel investors.[20] On July 6, 2009, Andreessen and Horowitz announced their Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.[21] The firm invests in entrepreneurs, products, and companies in the information technology industry.[22]

Begun with an initial capitalization of $300 million,[23] within three years the firm grew to $2.7 billion under management across three funds.[24] Andreessen Horowitz’s portfolio holdings include Facebook, Foursquare, GitHub, Pinterest, and Twitter.[25]

On September 1, 2009, an investor group that included Andreessen Horowitz acquired a majority stake in Skype for $2.75 billion,[26] which was considered risky.[27] The deal paid off in May 2011 when Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion.[27] Additionally, Andreessen and Horowitz made personal investments in headset maker Jawbone in 2006. The firm announced a $49-million investment in Jawbone in March 2011.[28] In February 2011, Andreessen Horowitz’s $80-million investment in Twitter[21] made it the first venture firm to hold stock in all four of the highest-valued, privately held social-media companies (at that time): Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, and Zynga.[29]

Industry influence

Andreessen's experiences as an entrepreneur, investor, and board member at several large technology firms have positioned him to “draw insightful conclusions” about technology trends and help Andreessen Horowitz “stand out from the crowd” (The Economist).[30] Andreessen often advises the leaders of companies in which Andreessen Horowitz invests, including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Mark Pincus of Zynga.[30]

In 2010, notable Silicon Valley attorney Ted Wang created the first free standardized seed round financing documents, the Series Seed Documents.[31][32]

An op-ed piece Andreessen authored for The Wall Street Journal in August 2011, “Why Software Is Eating the World”, received over 445 comments[33] and prompted articles on the topic in The Economist[30] and other media outlets. In the Journal, Andreessen wrote about the growing importance of software to businesses of all types:

More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.

Andreessen and Horowitz were ranked no. six on Vanity Fair’s 2011 New Establishment List,[34] no. 1 on CNET’s 2011 most influential investors list[35] and no. 2 and 21, respectively, on the 2012 Forbes Midas List of Tech’s Top Investors.[36]

In April 2012, Andreessen and Andreessen Horowitz General Partners Ben Horowitz, Peter Levine, Jeff Jordan, John O’Farrell, and Scott Weiss pledged to donate half of their lifetime incomes from venture capital to charitable organizations.[37]

In 2012, Andreessen was named in Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world assembled by Time.[38]

In 2013, Andreessen was one of five Internet and Web pioneers awarded the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.[39]

Current ventures

Andreessen cofounded and was chairman of Ning, the third company he established after Netscape and Loudcloud.[40] In September 2011, it was announced that Ning had been sold to Mode Media for a reported price of $150 million. Andreessen joined Glam Media’s board of directors following the sale.[41]

Andreessen is an investor in social news website Digg and several other technology startups such as Plazes, Netvibes, CastTV, Twitter, and the RockMelt browser launched in 2010.[42] He is a personal investor in such diverse companies as LinkedIn[33] and boutique bank Raine.[43]

Andreessen serves on the board of Facebook,[4] eBay, Kno,[44] Hewlett-Packard, Stanford Hospital,[45] Bump Technologies, Anki,[46] Oculus VR,[47] and TinyCo.[48] He serves as advisor to Asana and director of CollabNet.[44]

Andreessen is a proponent of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency[49] and has described the technology as "innovative and radical".[50] His venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has invested more than $227 million in bitcoin-related startups as of July 19, 2015.[51]

Personal life

Andreessen married Laura Arrillaga in 2006.[52] She is the founder of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund and the daughter of Silicon Valley real estate billionaire John Arrillaga.

Andreessen endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential elections. In 2012, Andreessen expressed some support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.[53] During the 2016 primary season, he endorsed Republican candidate Carly Fiorina.[54]


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  53. CNBC: Marc Andreessen Talks Facebook, Romney and Yahoo, 17 July 2012
  54. YouTube, 7 Oct 2015: Marc Andreessen speaks about Carly Fiorina

Further reading

External links

  • pmarca, Andreessen's blog, launched June 2007