Founding Partner Marc Andreessen tells me he hopes that this will set an example, and that other private equity and venture capital funds will follow. His partner Ben Horowitz says that if the company meets its goals of being a top tier VC firm, this could mean billions of dollars for charity.
The firm is certainly well on its way to that promise: The firm has backed more than 100 companies, including Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, Zynga, Foursquare, and Instagram. It’s raised a total of $2.7 billion since 2009. And it’s already returned the principal of its first, $200 million fund to investors, after just three years.
How did this philanthropic decision come about? Andreessen and Horowitz tell me that it fits with the culture of the firm, but that partner Scott Weiss gets credit for suggesting it when he was interviewing for his role at the company. They joked that given that none of the partners have expensive hobbies like polo, they wanted to figure out a charitable strategy, hoping that by organizing they’d set an example.
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