VC firm Andreessen Horowitz Raises $1.5B For Tech Startups

Although it focuses on startups, Andreessen Horowitz has explored investing in older technology companies too.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Silicon Valley entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and his partners have raised another $1.5 billion to invest in technology startups as they prepare to profit from a previous bet on Internet social network Facebook.

The fundraising announced Tuesday serves as further validation of the success that Andreessen has enjoyed since he started his own venture capital firm in mid-2009. The Menlo Park, Calif., firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has invested in about 90 companies since then. The portfolio includes an unspecified stake in Facebook, which is expected to file its plans for a long-awaited initial public offering of stock as early as Wednesday.

Those IPO documents may divulge the holdings of Andreessen Horowitz, if it is among Facebook's biggest stockholders. Before co-founding his venture capital firm, Andreessen also personally invested in Facebook and joined the company's board of directors in 2008.

Andreessen, 40, got rich as one of the Internet industry's first big stars during the 1990s. He helped change the way people used the Internet as part of a team that developed a graphical Web browser called Mosaic in the early 1990s. He went on to co-found Netscape Communications before he had turned 25. After losing its early lead in the Web browser market to Microsoft Corp. in a bruising battle, Netscape was sold to AOL for $10 billion in 1999.

With the latest infusion, Andreessen Horowitz has raised $2.7 billion since the firm's inception. The firm's other partners include Andreessen's longtime business partner, Ben Horowitz, and Jeff Jordan, former CEO of online restaurant reservation service OpenTable Inc.

"We are single-mindedly focused on partnering with the best innovators pursuing the biggest markets," Andreessen said in a statement.

Facebook, which started eight years ago in CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard University dorm room, is expected to seek an IPO price that would value the company at $75 billion to $100 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Andreessen Horowitz also was among the early investors in Zynga Inc., a maker of "FarmVille," ''Words With Friends" and other games that are frequently played on Facebook's social network. Zynga's stock has received a lukewarm response since its Wall Street debut in December. Zynga's stock gained 10 cents to close at $10.49 on Tuesday, just slightly above its IPO price of $10.

Although it focuses on startups, Andreessen Horowitz has explored investing in older companies too. Last year, it was one of several firms discussing the possibility of buying a nearly 20 percent stake in long-slumping Internet company Yahoo Inc. There was even speculation that Andreessen might join Yahoo as an executive, an idea that he refuted in a posting on his personal blog in December.

Yahoo has since hired former PayPal executive Scott Thompson as its fourth CEO in less than five years.

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