Marc Andreessen on Tech Bubbles, IPOs and the Secondary Market

Marc Andreessen has invested in pretty much ever social media company — Groupon, Zynga, Facebook, Twitter. He's even an angel investor in LinkedIn — and he says this is not an IPO bubble. He resisted saying that LinkedIn's IPO is the start of a new IPO boom, but he did say it's a clear sign that Wall Street is open for business.

Marc Andreessen
Marc Andreessen

Andresseen was adamant that LinkedIn, and the startups we're seeing right now, are very different than we saw during the 90s bubble, when he earned his first billions with Netscape. In our 'First on CNBC Interview' Andreessen stressed that the companies now are "important" and "serious" with "large amounts of revenue." He attributes the bump in the stock to the fact that there's such an imbalance between supply and demand. What about the fact that Facebook is valued north of $50 billion? All Andreessen would say is that his VC fund is putting its money where its mouth is.

What's Andreessen Horowitz's approach? He says they're "hunting black swans." He wouldn't say what trend he's most interested in, just that they're hoping to find companies that don't fall into a trend that's already been identified. And he's on the hunt, reviewing 1,000 a year.

Andreessen criticized secondary market trading of his companies, echoing the opinion expressed by his VC partner Ben Horowitz. He says that the market, and companies like SecondMarket put ordinary investors — even the accredited investors who qualify — at risk. He says that while he's comfortable investing in private markets, for retail investors, it's creating the kind of speculation we saw in the 1920s. And that means, Andreessen says, the government needs to step up its regulation.

Watch my whole interview for Andreessen's thoughts on Skype's sale to Microsoft and the role of the browser today.

Questions? Comments?