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The Venture-Capital Firm That No One Needed

Barry Ritholtz

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Andreessen Horowitz is lauded today as one of the most influential and innovative firms in venture capital. But when it started a decade ago, the approach taken by co-founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, this week's guest on Masters in Business, was derided as “crazy.”

At the time, in the midst of the 2009 financial crisis, Horowitz was told “nobody needed yet another venture capital firm.” But they pushed ahead anyway. 

The result was firm that disrupted the Silicon Valley disruptors. Today, A16Z (as it is known) has $12 billion in assets under management across multiple funds. It was an early investor in startups such as Facebook, Airbnb, Lyft, Groupon, Twitter, Pinterest, Box and many more.

Horowitz also credits the firm’s general partners, most of whom came of age in technology as founders, operators, chief executive officers or chief technology officers. He describes their experiences building successful companies as “crushingly hard,” and very much influencing the firm's thinking about startups.

His latest book is “What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture.” His first book was “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers.” 

His favorite books can be seen here; a transcript of the conversation is here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Next week, we speak with Peter Mallouk, CEO of Creative Planning Inc., a $46 billion investment advisory firm, and author of "The 5 Mistakes Every Investor Makes and How to Avoid Them."

To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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