Ben Horowitz Posts

Andreessen Horowitz Invests $49 Million Into Headset Company Jawbone

Jawbone has received a $49 million investment from investment firm Andreessen Horowitz. Marc Andreesen and Ben Horowitz have both previously invested in Jawbone as individual investors. Over the past 10 years, Jawbone has raised a total of $100 million. Jawbone has created a headset product and a Jambox wireless speaker box product. Recently they launched a free app called Thoughts, which lets users quickly write messages and send them through e-mail or text message. [AllThingsD]

Groupon Closes Its $950 Million Series G Round

Group coupon service has completed its $950 million series G round of funding. The best part is the press release title: “Groupon Raises, Like, A Billion Dollars.” I’ve pasted the press release below. The investors in this round include Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Group, Maverick Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures. Allen & Company LLC acted as financial advisor. The previous funding rounds was led by New Enterprise Associates, Accel Partners, and Group (formerly DST).
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Andreessen Horowitz Raises $650 Million

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has raised a new $650 million round of funding. Andreessen Horowitz launched a year ago with a $300 million fund. Andreessen Horowitz was founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. Some of the companies in their portfolios include Zynga, Digg, Skype, and Foursquare.
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Boku Receives Funding From Andreessen Horowitz

Boku has announced that they have raised funding from Andreessen Horowitz. Boku did not reveal how much funding that they have received, but the company has raised a total of $38 million since they launched last year. Boku is a mobile payments startup company and now Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz will join the Board of Directors. Boku does not require anyone to have a credit card or bank account to make micropayments.
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Kakai Raises $7.5 Million From Andreessen Horowitz, Josh Kopelman, and Ron Conway

Kakai is a stealth company that was started by Chegg founder Osman Rashid and Babur Habib.  Interestingly Kakai is still in stealth and raised a Series B round of funding already.  The second round is $7.5 million and the investors include venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Josh Kopelman, and Ron Conway. Marc Andreessen is joining Kakai’s board of directors as a result of the funding.

Kakai’s previously raised $1.85 million in Series A from Osman Rashid and Mike Maples.  Rumor has it that Kakai has something to do with electronic readers.  The portable consumer electronics products made by Kakai will be Linux-based.  Kakai currently has about 40 employees. Rashid’s other company has about $144 million in funding and was started in 2005.

BREAKING: eBay Sells 65% Stake In Skype Based On $2.75 Billion Valuation

About four years after eBay acquired Skype for about $4.1 billion, $2.6 billion of which was upfront cash, the company has decided to sell a big chunk of it it off to several investors.  Skype was valuated at $2.75 billion when eBay decided to sell 65% worth of the company to investors such as Silver Lake, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

eBay will receive about $1.9 billion cash when the deal is complete along with a $125 million note in principal from the buyers.  eBay itself will retain 35% in Skype.  The transaction is expected to be complete by the fourt quarter of this year.

“This is a great deal, unlocking both immediate and long-term value for eBay and tremendous potential for Skype,” stated eBay President and CEO John Donahoe in a press release. “We’ve acted decisively on a deal that delivers a high valuation, gives us significant cash up-front and lets us retain a meaningful minority stake with talented partners. Skype is a strong standalone business, but it does not have synergies with our e-commerce and online payments businesses. As a separate company, we believe that Skype will have the focus required to compete effectively in online voice and video communications and accelerate its growth momentum.”

Back in April, eBay said that they were planning on spinning Skype into its own brand and preparing a separate IPO for the VoIP company.  Now it is assumed these investors that took control of Skype will work together in preparing the IPO.  This gives eBay the ability to focus all of their energy on their own company and on PayPal.

How much money does Skype make?
In 2008, Skype itself made $551 million in revenue which was a 44% increase from the year before.  eBay’s total revenues for 2008 was $8.5 billion.

How many users does Skype have?
By EOY 2008, Skype had about 405 million users which was a 47% increase from the year before.

Group Of Investors Considering Bidding On Skype

Several investors are considering making a bid on Skype, the voice-over-IP service owned by eBay.  eBay bought out Skype for about $4.1 billion in September 2005 but failed to find a real way to integrate the service into their system.

Some of the investors considering making a bid includes Andreesen Horowitz and Index Ventures.  Index Ventures was one of the early investors in Skype.  There is also rumored to be another multi-billion dollar private equity company involved according to TechCrunch.

At one point eBay was considering having Skype have their own IPO.  It is unclear whether the current Skype CEO Josh Silverman will still be involved if an acquisition does take place.  While Silverman was running Skype, the company grew to $551 million in revenue this year.  By 2011, eBay expects Skype to hit about $1 billion in revenues.

Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis both started Skype together shortly after KaZaa.  If Skype gets acquired, then the private equity companies and investors would probably work towards an IPO.

Andreessen Horowitz Fund Officially Launches

Last month Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz have been able to raise $300 million in funding for their new venture capital firm called Andreessen Horowitz.  Yesterday Marc announced the launch of the VC firm on his personal blog.

The VC firm will have the ability to invest between $50,000 and $50 million in a company depending on the stage and opportunity.  The firm plans to aggressively invest in startups that will often times involve thousands of dollars.  Ben and Marc will be General Partners in the firm starting out.  In investments that involve $5 million or more, Ben or Marc will most likely join the Board of Directors.

Marc and Ben believe that the CEO of a company should be one of the founders.  The firm also believes that the product should be the heart of any technology company.  Most companies get built around the product.  The firm will focus on investments centered around consumer Internet, business Internet, mobile software, application software, networking, storage, etc.  The company will unlikely be involved in green and clean tech, space elevators, electric cars, or movie production studios.