Kara Swisher

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Marc Andreessen Crosses Over to the “Dark Side” With New Venture Fund (Here’s the Video)


Last night, well-known Internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen appeared on the “Charlie Rose” television interview show, talking about the digital sector and unveiling the news that he is creating a new venture fund.

I had heard rumblings about Andreessen’s funding efforts earlier this week, with sources I talked to nicknaming it “Project A.”

Actually, Andreessen said the new firm is called Andreessen Horowitz (zzzz), because he is doing it with longtime investing partner Ben Horowitz.

“For the first time in my life, I am crossing over into the dark side,” said Andreessen.

Although he gave few specific details about the fund, Andreessen essentially said he was simply putting a structure around his own active angel investing, which has included start-ups like Twitter, Digg, LinkedIn and many more.

His new effort will focus on early-stage investments, he said, noting that “our claim to fame is, we’ve actually, you know, by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, we’ve done it, we’ve been on that side of the table for a long time; we know what it’s like.”

Adding that he and Horowitz had made 36 investments over the last three years of up to $200,000, Andreessen said his new firm will make up to $1 million bets on start-ups.

Of course, for most of the interview, Rose zeroed in on hot topics like Facebook, the social-networking site on whose board Andreessen serves.

The voluble tech star did his job, talking about how Facebook could turn on the spigot and make all sorts of money anytime it wants and about the recent controversy around its Terms of Service kerfuffle.

He also talked about the Andreessen-backed Ning social network service, the Apple (AAPL) iPhone, Twitter, why the New York Times irks him, Google (GOOG), the Amazon (AMZN) Kindle e-book reader and gaming.

Ironically, the Netscape co-founder and his Xbox from Microsoft (MSFT)–eek–“have a very close personal relationship.”

But Andreessen also told Rose a little bit about the new fund he is raising money for, for example, while discussing the economic meltdown.

Talking about the fact that innovation will survive, Andreessen said: “Like with our new fund, if we fund a company today, we’re thinking about a return in seven to 10 years, so we can go through three or four or even five years of economic downturn, as long as, at some point, we come out the other end.”

Here is the video of Andreessen on the show (he starts to talk about the new fund in the interview at around 18:33 minutes, again at 46:55 minutes and at the very end):