Crypto Fund Launched By Venture Capital Firm Andreessen Horowitzbr>
Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) has launched a $300 million venture fund that will invest in crypto companies and protocols.
Founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz is structured differently from most other VC firms in several ways. Instead of having general partners who specialize in a specific industry, each a16z partner works on behalf of all its portfolio companies, an approach modeled after the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency. The firm has long invested in crypto companies, including crypto exchange Coinbase and game company Cryptokitties.
The new fund, called a16z crypto, will invest in a range of companies from blockchain projects to initial coin offerings (ICO). According to the firm, the fund is designed to include the best features of traditional venture capital, updated to the modern crypto world.
“We are long-term, patient investors. We’ve been investing in crypto assets for 5+ years,” said Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “We’ve never sold any of those investments, and don’t plan to any time soon. We structured the a16z crypto fund to be able to hold investments for 10+ years. We have an “all weather” fund. We plan to invest consistently over time, regardless of market conditions. If there is another “crypto winter,” we’ll keep investing aggressively.”
The Menlo Park-based company also hired Katie Haun as its first female general investing partner and as the co-leader of the new crypto fund. Previously, Haun spent a decade as a federal prosecutor with the US Department of Justice where she focused on fraud, cyber, and corporate crime alongside agencies including the SEC, FBI, and Treasury. She created the government’s first crypto task force and led investigations into the Mt. Gox hack and the corrupt agents on the Silk Road task force. She is also on the board of directors of Coinbase and taught Stanford Law School’s first-ever course on digital currency and cybercrime.
“As I learned more about her career, I was even more impressed,” said Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz. “She stood up to murderous motorcycle gangs and cartels, shut down organized crime, nailed RICO murderers, uncovered the largest money laundering and cybercrime rings, and stopped white collar crime and public corruption. Through it all, her prosecutorial record was whatever and 0. She never lost a case. Not once. Not ever.”
Haun said that Andreessen Horowitz stood out to her as an early believer in crypto and “continuous learning” with a stable of top-tier entrepreneurs. When asked about crypto’s lack of diversity, she said: “Like anything, I think it’s something that can be improved, but I don’t think it’s unique to crypto, and it’s certainly not unique to tech.”
Dixon added that one reason they created a new crypto fund is to have maximum flexibility. He said they want services powered by crypto protocols to be used by hundreds of millions and eventually billions of people.
“We invest at all stages, from seed stage pre-launch projects to fully developed later-stage networks like bitcoin and ethereum,” said Dixon. “We’ll invest in traditional financial instruments like equity or convertible notes, and new instruments including the direct purchase of coins/tokens. Crypto is a global phenomenon, with great projects all around the world, and we’ll invest accordingly.”