Andreessen Talks Tech Boom, Broken IPO Market, Immigration
Marc Andreessen is bullish on startups and the economy.
We caught up with him at the Allen Company conference in Sun Valley, where he's been meeting with the CEOs of media and tech companies, as well as startups.
On the heels of Google and Yahoo both making billion dollar acquisitions, he says "I don't think it's a bubble, it's a boom. I think consumers love the Internet, I think advertisers are moving online. A lot of things we were talking about for 15 years is happening now in a big way."
The area that Andreessen is most excited about is are new collaborative business models. He talked about the rise of crowd-funding- and the surprising ways a range of people, even politicians, are tapping into the resources and passions of the crowd.
He also pointed to the huge potential of collaborative consumption companies, like AirBNB, for renting rooms, and Lyft, for ride sharing.
Both AirBNB and ride sharing services face lawsuits, and threaten to be shut down, but Andreessen says he's confident that these services will prevail in courts.
"They're just too good and useful," Andreessen says, a win-win for owners of cars and rooms they'd like to rent out, and the consumers who want an efficient deal on a place to stay or a ride.
Andreessen wasn't wearing any "smart gadgets" like a Jawbone Up band or Google Glasses, though he says he's excited by the category. (Andreessen Horowitz is an investor in Jawbone and Andreessen Horowitz is part of the "Glass Collective," a fund to back Google Glass related companies.)
With not one of the Allen Co conference attendees spotted wearing the Google device, Andreessen acknowledged that it'll be a while before these companies can actually bring their apps to market. Shockingly enough, he said many of the Glass Collective startups can't even get their hands on a pair to develop their products.
What will happen to the companies Andreessen invests in? He's afraid it's too hard for them to go public.
"The IPO market is deeply broken. It's become sort of a two-class market. In general the private companies are growing very fast, doing very well, delaying their IPOs. There are a small number of public companies doing very well in tech, but there are much larger companies that should be public that aren't."
More broadly, Andreessen says that he's "incredibly encouraged about the economy. I think Silicon Valley generally is doing well, so I think it's a positive time."
But in order for the economy to perform well, Andreessen says it's crucial that the government enact immigration reform. He says it's "a little bit depressing" that the immigration bill now seems to be "on the burner."
"I think it's a pretty clear thing at least for high-skilled workers, that it would be good for economic growth, so I really don't know why people wouldn't be in favor of it."
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin