One of Silicon Valley’s most prolific Venture Capital companies – Andreessen Horowitz – has unveiled a $300 million crypto “War Chest” which will be used to back interesting blockchain based startup projects.
Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s newest yet most prolific Venture Capital firms, has become the first to target blockchain-based startups. On Wednesday (June 27), the company’s founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz (pictured above) announced they had a $300 million ”War Chest” which was to be spent on promoting fledgling crypto and blockchain companies.
Katie Haun To Front AH Crypto Project
Andreessen and Horowitz were also keen to announce Katie Haun as the project’s overseer, also introducing her as AH’s first female general partner.
Haun is a former prosecutor at the Department of Justice, and in that role she gained a high profile investigating the sleazier side of cryptocurrency. Haun led the team that brought down the infamous “dark net” marketplace Silk Road, that shut down the notorious BTC-e. exchange, and led the investigation of another exchange – Mt Gox, – which collapsed following a theft.
The recruitment of Katie Haun to front this project sends out a message of intent that any crypto startup Andreessen Horowitz choose to invest in will A) be 100% legit, and B) when it becomes the finished product, will be a company beyond reproach, and worthy of additional investment.
Has The ICO Replaced The Need For VC?
In recent years, the trend among many cryptocurrency and exchange startups has been to bypass the traditional route of employing a venture capital company such as Andreessen Horowitz to help raise financial backing, and instead have used a tactic called an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) to raise capital.
However, now Andreessen Horowitz want to readdress that situation and are looking to get in on the burgeoning cryptocurrency/blockchain market. And while many aspects of this new business are different, many are still the same, as AH partner Chris Dixon says:
“You squint one way and it’s a whole new asset class — you squint another way it looks a lot like the venture capital world.”
Many traditional venture investors and VC firms have struggled to find a way into the cryptocurrency sector. By comparison, Andreessen Horowitz already has a foothold in the crypto-market by virtue of several blockchain related investments it has made via general-purpose “slush” funds.
The difference with today’s announcement is that this is a dedicated $300 million fund, fronted by someone in Katie Haun who knows the industry and its inner workings better than most. Crypto startups will be queuing up for this level of investment, and Haun will be in a position to pick and choose the startups which will best benefit from the Andreessen Horowitz brand, and benefit them in return.