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Published 25 July 2012 06:02, Updated 26 July 2012 04:16
Money maker ... Netscape founder Marc Andreessen’s VC outfit Andreessen Horowitz is estimated to have returned its debut fund two times over.
Trawl a few of the major US tech websites and you’re sure to come across Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. He’s everywhere.
Now the co-founder of Netscape (remember them?) may have really earned his place as the go-to-guy for an opinion on start-up land in the US after the firm he co-founded, Andreessen Horowitz, parlayed a $US17 million investment into something between and $US250 million and $US300 million return.
The deal? Virtualisation outfit VMWare has agreed to stump up $US1.23 billion in cash for Andreessen investee Nicira, putting paid to any questions that started to emerge in the past year or so over whether the one-time software developer can deliver the goods as a VC.
Andresseen Horowitz stumped up for its stake in Nicira out of a $US300 million fund it raised in early 2009, meaning that the buyout of the software play will pretty much return that debut fund on its own.
Fortune says Andreessen’s done even better than, returning that first fund more than two times over thanks to a bevy of deals including the sale of Skype to Microsoft and of Instagram to Facebook.
Nicira, which gained a bit of notoriety in May when its offices were robbed in an apparent attempt at corporate espionage, bills itself as a virtual networking company with customers that include AT&T, eBay and online trader Fidelity.
Andreessen tells Forbes the buyout of the five-year-old company shows that cloud computing deals have “really lit up”.
“Big incumbents have pressing needs to buy there way into leadership positions and have huge cash stockpiles. So it’s prime time for these kinds of deals,” he says.
As for what’s next, Andresseen pegs storage virtualisation as a potential hotspot, telling Forbes that while there are many start-ups, “no big companies have moved on that yet”.