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Andreessen Horowitz

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Marc Andreessen has been going crazy on Twitter lately after a long time away.

His latest outburst is a humorous take on people's reaction to Silicon Valley since 1993.

Andreessen, for those that don't know, is a board member at Facebook, HP, eBay, and a lot of other places. He's co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He also created the Netscape browser, which helped kickstart the dot com boom.

He's wildly optimistic about technology. And he's making fun of everyone that is a worrywort or skeptic with these tweets.

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When Kevin Systrom graduated college in 2006, he took a job at Google over another that would have paid him twice as much money.

At Google, he sat next to Ronny Conway, son of Silicon Valley's most important early stage startup investor Ron Conway

Ronny went on to work at Andreessen Horowitz, the hottest venture capital firm in the Valley at the moment.

When Systrom decided to create a company, Andreessen Horowitz invested.

That company was Instagram, which sold for a billion dollars last Spring – six years after Systrom turned down a higher paying job.

In this clip from a PandoMonthly event, Systrom explains how caring about money didn't drive his success, and how it doesn't now:

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Eugene Marinelli and Quinn Slack

We don't know much about Eugene Marinelli and Quinn Slack, or their new startup, Blend Labs.

But we have heard this much: It has just raised $2.5 million from Facebook investor Peter Thiel and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, according to a source.

It makes total sense, given that Slack and Marinelli are both former software engineers at Palantir, a secretive Thiel-backed company which processes massive amounts of data for corporate clients and government agencies.

We couldn't find an SEC filing showing the investment, though there are ways for companies that want to stay stealthy to avoid such filings (by, for example, filing with state regulators).

From what we can see, Marinelli and Slack are interested in the following hot areas:

  • Big data. They just gave a presentation at Stanford about using technologies like Hadoop, HBase, and Scala to handle huge quantities of information. Or as they put it, "you have a ton of data, need to handle a lot of users, and want to perform heavy computation over the data."
  • The social graph. They posted code to GitHub, an open software repository, for "Facebook social data modeling." And their Stanford presentation shows an example of handling data about individuals including email addresses and groups they belong to.
  • Mobile platforms. Slack has contributed some code to the Play 2.0 platform, which is used for mobile applications.

Okay, so that doesn't give us many clues to what Blend Labs is doing. But big-data applications for social and mobile platforms seems like it hits just about every investing buzzword.

Andreessen Horowitz, Slack, and Marinelli did not respond to emailed inquiries about the investment.

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The venture capital firm funded by Google is building up its data sciences team to increase the capabilities inside its companies and to look for new investments in the area. The firm is extending a thesis that was developed inside Google about finding patterns in big collections of data, which it hopes will work in other industries.

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