MIB: Turning Venture Capital into an Ensemble Practice

The venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is lauded today as one of the most influential and innovative firms in Silicon Valley. But when they launched a decade ago, the approach taken by Ben Horowitz and his co-founder Marc Andreessen was derided as “crazy.”

Launched in 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis, Horowitz was told “nobody needed yet another venture capital firm.” But what really led to pushback was the idea of using Michael Ovitz’s Creative Artists Agency (CAA) as a template for an ensemble practice. Despite being told this was “the dumbest idea ever – it has been tried and failed a million times,” they pushed ahead anyway.

The result was firm that disrupted the Silicon Valley disruptors. Today, A16Z (as it known) has $12B in assets under management across multiple funds, and was an early investor in such startups 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, CEOs, or CTOs. He describes their experiences building successful companies as “crushingly hard,” and very much impacting their thought process on start ups.

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 our conversation will be available here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunesOvercastSpotifyGoogleBloomberg, 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, a $46 billion RIA, and author of  The 5 Mistakes Every Investor Makes and How to Avoid Them.