Andreessen Horowitz has been one of the leading funds in the crypto space and having come in early is now positioned well to continue growing with this new market. After their recent announcement of a 300M fund, they’re now one of the leading investors in the space. You can read the full blog post here, but here’s the short version (paraphrased)
Blockchain may have it’s flaws, but just as smartphones small screen size was surpassed by the integration of GPS and cameras, Web 3 will succeed on it’s ability to bring trust to the online ecosystem.
The aptly dubbed a16z crypto fund is intended for long-term, high growth projects, and specifically those which have horizons longer than a decade. In addition to financial backing, the fund is staffed with an 80 person team and promises to provide operational and marketing support to foster the adoption of this new technological wave.
Fun Fact: a16z is a numeronym for Andreessen Horowitz, a sort of insider joke in the community. A and Z being the first and last letters of the firms name, with 16 being the count in between.
In an appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt this week, Ben Horowitz took some tough questions on his view of the crypto space amid recent price volatility. Despite an aggressive line of questioning from the moderator, the investment mogul remained calm and collected. Seemingly unperturbed, he went on to say that like any computing revolution, blockchain systems are worse in most ways than the older technology, but that the integration of trust and value in the online ecosystem cannot be understated. To paraphrase,
The smartphone was initially disregarded by many because it had a smaller screen and low quality audio, but the integration of a camera and GPS allowed companies like Uber and Airbnb to take shape.
He continued by saying that while cryptocurrencies are quite popular, it’s more important that the underlying blockchain ecosystem is able to develop to fruition. In closing, Horowitz offered some wisdom regarding the similarities of the .com bubble to the cryptocurrency run-up, saying
The dumb thing wasn’t to not invest in the scam, the dumb thing was to give up on the internet because there were some stupid people in it [sic] all ICOs aren’t bad, but almost all bad [tech] companies will have an ICO. The blockchain space is exciting for developers, and that’s important, since they’re the ones building the next wave of technology – we’re seeing more activity in this space than we have anywhere else in the past 10 years.
a16z – a bold initiative, or a smart hedge? Andreessen Horowitz has long been regarded by many in Silicon Valley as a leader in cultural adoption. They’ve successfully predicted many major cultural trends, leading the waves of AirBnb, Skype, Twitter, and notably the software development forum Stack Exchange.
The firm’s involvement with Stack Exchange, in particular, is interesting, as Horowitz seems to believe that web3 will succeed as a result of developer activism. This prediction does seem to be in line with the activity of web forums dedicated to technology resources in the space. Most great web developers tend to be creatives, and idealists, which means that if they have an alternative to working for the FANGS, they’ll most likely take it.