Andreessen Horowitz is more than just a Silicon Valley investment firm — it’s a media hype machine. Its tech-can-do-no-wrong mentality bolstered some of the most charismatic CEOs of our era, including now-disgraced founders like Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos) and Adam Neumann (WeWork). As Elizabeth Lopatto points out in The Verge, this strategy is ill-suited to a post-pandemic landscape of tech layoffs and higher interest rates, yet the firm presses on, making recent investments in Neumann’s new venture, as well as Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover. Can Andreessen continue using the same tired script, or will they be able to pivot to the times?
In many ways, a16z created the playbook for the boom times in tech. During the era of fawning tech journalism and low interest rates, valuations of private companies exploded. Founders were “geniuses” and “rockstars”; it was easy to raise and easy to spend. There were herds of “unicorns,” companies that are valued at more than $1 billion. (This is to say nothing of “decacorns.”) Startups stopped running lean and instead got fat, attempting to outspend their competition.
This strategy is now at least two vibe shifts behind.