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 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 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 Chegg.com has about $144 million in funding and was started in 2005.
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.
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.
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.
[Horowitz: left, Andreessen: right]
Back in April it was rumored that Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz was seeking $250 million for an early stage fund. It turns out that the two have raised a bit more than that: $300 million. Andreesen and Horowitz started a company together called OpsWare which sold to HP for $1.6 billion. Before that Andreessen and Horowitz worked at AOL together.
The fund was nicknamed Project A, but now it is called Andreessen-Horowitz. The fund was built through the support of several major institutional investors along with several universities. Some of them have invested as high as $20 million each while others have put in $1 million or less.
Andreessen started Netscape and serves on the board for Facebook and eBay. Andreessen is an adviser in Twitter and an angel investor in Facebook, Digg, and LinkedIn. Both Andreessen and Horowitz invested in Qik together.
Marc Andreessen started a company back in 1999 with Ben Horowitz. Andreessen was the Chairman and Horowitz was the CEO of the company. HP bought the company out for $1.6 billion. Andreessen started the company about a year after AOL spent $4.2 billion on Netscape, another company he founded.
Andreessen and Horowitz worked together at Netscape before starting Opsware. Lately Andreessen and Horowitz have been investing actively in businesses together which is good practice for their fund. This past August the both of them invested in live online streaming video company Qik.
According to a report at PEHub, the both of them are planning to launch an early stage venture capital fund. The opening fund is expected to be around $250 million because that is what the two are shopping around for. Initial investments would be around $500,000. This is five times the amount that Horowitz and Andreessen normally invest out of their own pockets.
It is uncertain whether they will be able to raise that sort of investment for their venture capital company in this type of economy, but between the two they have an impressive track record so you never know.