Posts Tagged ‘Reid Hoffman’

Google Angels Spread Their Wings

February 26, 2010

Apologies for not posting that much lately. I’ve been swamped with work. However, I am coming up for air and have a really cool project to share with you all. It’s sort of an angel investing extravaganza.

The heart of the package is a feature story and a super-duper two-page info-graphic detailing the ascendance of the Google angel investors–all of the wealthy folks such as Aydin Senkut, Chris Sacca and Andrea Zurek who have come out of Google and are seeding the next wave of tech innovation. Silicon Valley has always been fueled by angel investors coming out of successful startups, but the Google alumni network is the most powerful network the Valley has ever seen, I believe. Check out the story here, written by myself and Kimberly Weisul.

We’ve also compiled a ranking of the most powerful angels in all of tech investing through a partnership with private company researcher YouNoodle. Angel investors are playing an increasingly important role in the economy so I am stoked we are first to market with this kind of list. In case you are wondering, the top three in our ranking our Chris Dixon, Ron Conway and Reid Hoffman.

Last but not least, we’ve got an email interview with Peter Thiel, the godfather of the other prominent Valley network, the PayPal Mafia.

Attention Startups: President Obama Wants to Know What You Think About Health Care Reform

July 25, 2009

Facing growing resistance to his efforts to reform the health care industry, President Obama on Saturday July 25 asked the small business community what the most important issues are when it comes to health care.

In a nifty use of social media tools, the White House is using LinkedIn to gather feedback from entrepreneurs. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman sent out an email today to a number of his “social media friends” announcing the effort (including me).

“Sending a note to my social media friends, ” wrote Hoffman “…. up to you if you want to participate. Good cause. (Have to sort out the small business and health stuff; get good direction to Washington.)”

A new report from the Council of Economic Advisors, also released July 25, analyzing the impact of health insurance reform on small businesses is prompting the request for feedback. The Council is asking entrepreneurs to read the report and offer the White House your comments, questions and objections.

I’ve been one of many folks calling for the White House to pay more attention to the needs of small businesses–in addition to the giants of the economy. I am glad to see they are doing more on this front. So startups–now is the time weigh in!

To spur even more interest, CEA Chair Christina Romer will be answering some questions, chosen by LinkedIn, in a live video online discussion at on Wednesday, July 29th, at 3:00 PM EDT.

I just checked out the site. Interestingly, the survey is being done through LinkedIn’s new Answers service, in which members post a question on their network. There are already 29 thoughtful responses.

Congrats on a clever and important experiment Reid!

Inside Marc Andreessen’s New Venture Capital Fund

July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Let’s celebrate entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who embody economic freedom!

On that note, check out the story I wrote about Netscape cofounder Marc Andreesseen’s new $300 million VC fund. Bonus: a video of me blabbing about it with tech editor Peter Elstrom.

Here’s the top:

With the financial world in turmoil, this may seem like a terrible time to start a new venture capital firm. But not for Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Internet pioneer Netscape Communications, and business partner Ben Horowitz. The two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs just raised $300 million to launch the firm, dubbed Andreessen Horowitz, say several sources involved in the effort. The pair had originally planned to raise $250 million, but boosted the amount because of strong investor interest.

Andreessen and Horowitz are expected to publicly unveil their firm later this month and declined to comment. But sources say the duo raised most of the money from institutional investors, including Horsley Bridge Partners, a San Francisco firm that invests corporate and government pension-fund money in venture firms. Among the new firm’s other backers are prominent tech industry players including Reid Hoffman, founder of the social networking site LinkedIn, and Peter Thiel, former CEO of the payment service PayPal. “Marc is doing some innovative things,” says Hoffman, who confirmed his involvement. “I like the direction he is going.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Big Loss: Matt Cohler Leaves Facebook

June 19, 2008

Today, Facebook announced Matt Cohler was leaving the company to become a general partner at Benchmark Capital. A long-time Facebook exec who was part of Mark Zuckerberg’s brain trust, Cohler was vice president of product management, and his presence will be sorely missed.

Jim Breyer, an investor and director at Facebook, has told me several times that he thinks the world of Cohler. “Cohler is a rock star,” Breyer told me several months ago. “He is one to watch.”

Kara Swisher reports that Cohler was not pushed out, and I have to believe that is true. That Cohler will remain a “special advisor” to Zuckerberg and the company’s management after he leaves is pretty good proof that this is an amicable separation. Cohler, a really smart, cool and nice guy, was very popular at Facebook, and always seemed to know his role as Mark’s consigliere and didn’t step over those bounds (unlike some other execs). When I asked him a few months ago what advice he gives Zuck, Cohler wisely replied: “I ask him questions and that elicits things.” A guy with a golden touch, Cohler will be a great asset at Benchmark, helping them suss out Internet investments.

Cohler joined Facebook in the summer of 2005 at Peter Thiel’s request. Here’s an excerpt from an interview I did with Matt from June 2007 when he spoke about how he joined Facebook. It shows you the tightness of the Silicon Valley network. He was an exec at LinkedIn at the time but felt that Facebook was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” that could not be passed up.

“In August 2004, Mark came in to meet with Peter Thiel, Reid’s old boss, to raise some angel money to keep the company expanding quickly,” Matt told me. “Reid and I were in Peter’s office an hour before. Peter said sit in and listen to this Mark Zuckerberg guy. I sat in on the conversation. Right away I was floored by what I was hearing. The quantitative data that Mark was getting, about the user uptake. I started tracking the company. Peter invested in September of 2004 and became a director. A few months later, Peter asked me to join Facebook. I felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I officially joined in spring of 2005. There were 5/6 employees.”

One key question now is this: Who will take over product management when Matt leaves in the fall? Product management is still arguably the most important job at Facebook. It will be interesting to see if Mark Zuckerberg takes it over, or if he appoints someone else from inside the company. It’s hard to see Facebook bringing in an outsider to take over product development at this point, given its importance and the uniqueness of the company’s culture.