Thursday, May 31, 2012
Andreesson Horowitz Borrows a Page from Michael Ovitz
Fortune Magazine's recent article, 'Andreessen, Horowitz: Capital's New Bad Boys' reveals a big secret behind Andreessen Horowitz's amazing success: borrowing a page from Michael Ovitz:
"This pitch culture and suite of services come from a secret influence: Michael Ovitz, yet another longtime friend of Marc, who got to know Horowitz when he served on Opsware’s board. At his Creative Artists Agency during the 1980s and 1990s, Ovitz became the most powerful Hollywood agent ever, largely by moving the model from one of a single agent handling all aspects of a client’s business to a full team of specialists.
'They’re very inquisitive guys, and they drilled in deep about what I did, what worked and what didn’t,' says Ovitz, who spends a few days a week now in Silicon Valley, working out of an office at Andreessen Horowitz, meeting with the firm’s portfolio companies. 'If they were going to go head-to-head with these long-established folks, they knew they needed to do something different. Otherwise, their money is the same as anyone else's.'
Just as Hollywood did, Andreessen Horowitz embraced Ovitz’s CAA model fully. Plenty of venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz have general partners that used to be CEOs, and plenty of venture firms offer their portfolio companies help with marketing, recruiting, business development and customer contacts. But the traditional VC model leaves it up to one general partner to be the point of contact and main provider of those activities to the startup; Andreessen Horowitz has blown up those walls."
By creating a VC firm that acts like a Hollywood talent agency, Andreessen Horowitz has every entrepreneur in Silicon Valley flocking to their door. With a dedicated staff of forty-five people working full-time to help its startups find talent, customers and marketing solutions, the firm has reinvented VC culture.
“I don’t think entrepreneurs go to them because they have a lot of money. I think people are going to them because they like the team, they like the services, they like the credibility.” says Elizabeth Obershaw, a managing director at San Francisco’s Horsley Bridge.
“I thought [the business services] was hype at first, but it really works,” says Joe Green, Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard roommate who hired his sales chief for his startup NationBuilder thanks to Andreessen Horowitz recruiters--before he had even signed his term sheet (the firm wound up leading his $6.25 million round in March).
Congrats to Andreessen Horowitz. Click here to read the full Forbes Magazine Article, 'Andreesen, Horowitz: Capital's New Bad Boys'.