Marc Andreessen Is Bullish on the Economy

Tuesday, 1 May 2012 | 11:10 AM ET
Marc Andreessen
Ryan Anson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Marc Andreessen

NEW YORK — Tech guru Marc Andreessen says he's bullish on the U.S. economy.

"I'm quite bullish," he told CNBC's Julia Boorstin on Tuesday before appearing at the Wired Business conference. "We're coming up on year 15 of a flat stock market. Historically that's a pretty good sign. So I'm not a hedge-fund manager but if I was I think I'd be feeling pretty good."

At the conference in New York, Andreessen, founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, said he didn't think the tech sector was in a bubble.

"I don't think objectively we are in a tech bubble when tech stocks are at a 30 year low," he said.

While Andreessen, who is an investor and on the board of Facebook, couldn't comment on the valuation process of Facebook's $1 billion purchase of Instagram, he did comment on how some companies do the math when purchasing a smaller technology company.

Larger companies, like a Google or Microsoft , determine a price for a smaller company based on its "strategic value," Andreessen said.

It's not what the company is making, it's what the larger company can do with the smaller company, Andreessen said. Companies often buy the "insurgent" or the enemy, so that they can manage their risk, he said.

For venture capitalists like Andreessen, however, the process of finding a company to invest in is quite different.

Andreessen Bullish on U.S. Economy
Netscape founder Marc Andreessen talks to CNBC's Julia Boorstin about mobile and social commerce, his outlook for Silicon Valley and his bullishness on the U.S. economy.

When looking for the next big thing, Andreessen said that his firm tries not to make to many assumptions.

"The main thing we try to do is not to have a thesis," he said. "We try to be just as optimistic as possible."

Currently, the Andreessen Horowitz firm has $2.7 billion under management across three funds and portfolio holdings that include Box, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tidemark, and Zynga. ,

Still though, there are some theories or technology advances that Andreessen said are still underrated, one being the smartphone.

There is more computing power in the world today than throughout history and the potential for that is huge, he said.

"The smartphone revolution is under-hyped, more people have access to phones than access to running water," he said. "We've never had anything like this before since the beginning of the planet."

email: tech@cnbc.com

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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.