Investors

Meet the 12 key investors and advisors behind Andreessen Horowitz’s $3 billion push into crypto startups

Another crypto boom is here. The price of bitcoin keeps climbing, memes sold on the blockchain are going for millions, and even traditional venture capitalists are investing a fortune into crypto startups.

But it wasn’t until this past June, when the storied firm announced a $2.2 billion fund for blockchain companies and digital assets, that it put Silicon Valley on notice. The fund brings its total dollars earmarked for crypto to about $3 billion.

“The size of this fund speaks to the size of the opportunity before us,” the firm wrote in a blog post. “Crypto is not only the future of finance but, as with the internet in the early days, is poised to transform all aspects of our lives.”

Andreessen Horowitz is using its new capital to take big swings – coleading a $260 million round for CoinSwitch Kuber, a crypto trading platform, and leading a $152 million Series B for Sky Mavis, creator of Axie Infinity.

As other venture firms race to capitalize on the latest crypto craze, Andreessen Horowitz has amassed a team of nearly 50 investors, advisors, and legal experts to lead the charge. Meet the 12 employees calling the shots.

Jeff Amico, partner

Jeff Amico is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Andreessen Horowitz

Who he is: Amico brings legal expertise to the firm. Before Andreessen Horowitz, he served as the general counsel for the blockchain startup Fluidity and as an associate at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

His role: Amico was brought on to change how venture capitalists approach crypto. He leads the firm’s crypto network operations group, where he helps determine how investors navigate governance in the crypto community.

He also runs the firm’s delegate program, which gives college blockchain clubs and nonprofit groups some of Andreessen Horowitz’s voting power in major crypto organizations.

Anthony Albanese, chief operating officer

Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese is the chief operating officer of Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto funds.

A16Z

Who he is: Before joining the fund, Albanese was the “top markets cop” at the New York Stock Exchange, as The Wall Street Journal put it. He worked as the exchange’s chief regulatory officer for about half a decade. Before that, he ran an agency of 1,400 employees as the acting superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services.

His role: Andreessen Horowitz has long maintained that they want a world in which crypto natives and regulators collaborate. With Albanese as the fund’s chief operating officer, the fund has someone who’s worked alongside the very regulators they’ll need to persuade.

Albanese has his work cut out for him: He’ll be doing everything from overseeing the fund’s operating teams to working directly with portfolio companies.

Greg Clayman, talent partner

Greg Clayman is a talent partner at Andreessen Horowitz.Greg Clayman is a talent partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Greg Clayman

Who he is: Clayman is the firm’s longest-running recruiter for crypto, focused on placing hires and setting the human-resources strategy at startups. His tour of duty in recruiting includes stints at Google, Zynga, Klarna, Imgur, and Chronicled, a blockchain-tech company.

His role: The war for talent has never been harder to win, which is why startups rely on specialized venture capitalists known as “talent partnersto help them hire. Clayman works in the trenches with entrepreneurs to design roles, interview candidates, and onboard them.

Chris Dixon, general partner

chris dixon a16zChris Dixon is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Andresseen Horowitz

Investments: Coinbase, Dapper Labs, Manifold

Who he is: Dixon is the general partner behind Andreessen Horowitz’s most monumental crypto investments. He led the firm’s investments in Coinbase, which produced enough returns to pay back its last two megafunds, and Dapper Labs, which is now valued at $7.6 billion, according to TechCrunch.

His role: He oversees the fund with Katie Haun. While she brings the legal chops, Dixon has the investing experience. Dixon’s been at A16Z for six years and has been a fierce advocate for crypto’s potential since the early days.

He wrote on his blog back in 2018 that core internet services will likely “almost entirely rearchitected,” a revolution powered by “crypto-economic networks.”

Katie Haun, general partner

Katie Haun a16zKatie Haun is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Andresseen Horowitz

Investments: Aleo, Eco, OpenSea, Valora

Who she is: The first time Haun heard of bitcoin, she was being asked to take it down. Haun worked as a federal prosecutor for over a decade, where she investigated fraud and cyber crimes. But cracking down on criminals using bitcoin led her to become fascinated with the technology itself. She joined the board of Coinbase in 2017, and a year later, she was hired as the first female general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Her role: Haun didn’t have much investing experience before joining the firm, but she did spend years working with crypto heavyweights. “We wanted somebody who could be the kind of poised credible face of crypto,” the firm’s cofounder Ben Horowitz told CNBC in 2019.

Now, as colead of the crypto fund alongside Dixon, Haun brings an in-depth legal expertise, often addressing fears about industry regulation.

Rachael Horowitz, head of marketing and communications

Rachael Horwitz is an Andreessen Horowitz operating partner, leading marketing and communications for the crypto team.Rachael Horowitz is an operating partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Andreessen Horowitz

Who she is: Horwitz is the former vice president of communication at Coinbase, one of Andreessen Horowitz’s most lucrative investments. She brings deep ties to its alumni network, which could be useful for sourcing deals as employees leave to start their own companies.

Her role: As the head of marketing for the fund, Horwitz works shoulder to shoulder with the portfolio companies to help them navigate public relations and marketing challenges in an increasingly industry. She’s also on the front lines of the policy debate around crypto.

Miles Jennings, general counsel

Miles JenningsMiles Jennings is a general counsel at Andreessen Horowitz.

A16Z

Who he is: Jennings joined Andreessen Horowitz as the general counsel for crypto after a 12-year run at Latham & Watkins, a law firm where he focused on working with startups and investors in highly regulated sectors such as life sciences and crypto. Jennings was an advisor to Andreessen Horowitz on all things crypto before the firm snatched him up in September.

His role: In his first posting in venture capital, Jennings will continue to advise the firm on its crypto investments, support portfolio companies as the crypto industry quickly matures, and work alongside partners and policy wonks to shape regulation around blockchain technologies.

Jane Lippencott, partner

Jane Lippencott is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz.Jane Lippencott is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Andreessen Horowitz

Investments: BlockFi, Forte, Slingshot, TaxBit, Tokemak, Zapper

Who she is: Lippencott is only 25, but she’s got a résumé even venture veterans would envy. Her first full-time investing job was as an associate at Winklevoss Capital, where she cut her teeth working alongside Sterling Witzke and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. She left earlier this year to invest in crypto startups at Distributed Global, before joining A16Z months later.

Her role: Lippencott has worked at the firm for only about a month, but she arrived with key relationships, from top-tier founders to her former bosses, the Winklevoss twins.

Lippencott has described her investment style as relationship-centric.

“I typically focus on building authentic relationships,” she told The Cap Table in 2020. “Providing crypto-specific insight and anecdotes from other investments/founders, asking the right questions, always being available, and proving to my founders that I’ve got their backs.”

Arianna Simpson, general partner

Arianna SimpsonArianna Simpson is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Andreessen Horowitz

Investments: Axie Infinity, Forta, Valora, Yield Guild Games

Who she is: Before Andreessen Horowitz hired Simpson, she kept showing up on their cap tables. Simpson previously founded her own crypto fund, Autonomous Partners, where she invested alongside much larger firms in Celo, Dapper Labs, and Maker. In 2015, she helped start an early-stage venture firm, Crystal Towers Capital, for investing in Y Combinator graduates.

Her role: Simpson was promoted four months ago to general partner after joining the firm in 2020. She still finds time to be an active member of the community she invests in, spending her days joining Discord servers, combing through Twitter, and toying with new crypto games.

Haun commended Simpson’s dedication in a blog post about her promotion.

“She’s got her ear to the ground, she’s plugged in, and she’s well-respected by everyone in the industry,” Haun wrote.

Tomicah Tillemann, global head of policy

Tomicah Tillemann is the global head of policy at Andreessen Horowitz.Tomicah Tillemann is the global head of policy at Andreessen Horowitz.

Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Who he is: Tillemann is a seasoned diplomat. He got his big break as Hillary Clinton’s speechwriter, collaborating with the then-senator on more than 200 speeches, and later served as a senior advisor to Joe Biden while he was a senator. Andreessen Horowitz is his first posting in venture capital, but Tillemann’s interest in technology led him to help create an accelerator program for blockchain companies based out of the think tank New America.

His role: Tillemann was hired to strengthen the relationship between policy and technology. He’s been submitting proposals to the Senate Banking Committee around how to regulate cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies as well as advising the firm’s portfolio companies.

“Realizing the potential of decentralized tech to deliver broad gains for society will require world-class legal code alongside world-class computer code,” Tillemann tweeted.

Carra Wu, partner

Carra Wu is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz.Carra Wu is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Courtesy of Carra Wu

Investments: Axie Infinity, Friends with Benefits, Yield Guild Games

Who she is: At 22, Wu has had a whirlwind career. She worked as a HoloLens engineer at Microsoft for a summer, danced ballet at Harvard, interned at Apple, and consulted for the Air Force’s leading software factory. Wu got the job at Andreessen Horowitz through a cold email.

Her role: Andreessen Horowitz has a deep bench of junior investors who help with sourcing companies, evaluating potential deals, and helping founders, but Wu stands out among them.

Wu’s “zest for learning and willingness to ask questions without being worried about looking foolish is absolutely critical for a young investor,” Arianna Simpson tweeted.

Ali Yahya, general partner

Ali Yahya is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.Ali Yahya is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Andreessen Horowitz

Investments: Avalanche, Compound, Dapper Labs, Dfinity, Flow, Near, Rally

Who he is: Yahya brings technical chops to the firm’s crypto team. Before he became an investor, he was a software engineer and researcher at Google Brain, Google’s artificial-intelligence lab. He previously worked on consumer robotics at Google X, the semisecret research facility.

His role: The firm promoted Yahya to general partner just before it revealed a new pair of crypto-focused funds in June. He’s known among founders for giving thoughtful feedback.

“Our partner Ben likes to call Ali the soul of the crypto team,” Chris Dixon wrote, referring to Ben Horowitz, in a blog post announcing Yahya’s promotion.

Source: https://newsnationusa.com/news/finance/banking/meet-the-12-key-investors-and-advisors-behind-andreessen-horowitzs-3-billion-push-into-crypto-startups/

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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