I’m very excited to announce that Balaji S. Srinivasan is joining Andreessen Horowitz as our newest General Partner.
Balaji is both an entrepreneur and an academic. He was the cofounder and CTO of Counsyl, where he developed a new pre-pregnancy genomic test for a variety of heritable diseases.
Counsyl’s test won the Wall Street Journal’s Innovation Award for Medicine, was named one of Scientific American’s Top 10 World Changing Ideas, and was the basis for Balaji’s recent MIT TR35 award. Needless to say, genomics is a very technically challenging area; his acceptance speech discusses some of the many issues they needed to tackle, from DNA sequencing to robotics to insurance claims processing. Counsyl has quickly become one of the largest clinical genome centers in the world, with their technology now used in ~4% of American pregnancies. Widely adopted by women’s health groups, their assay has made it much more affordable for minorities to do preventive screening for diseases like Sickle-Cell Anemia and Beta Thalassemia.
Prior to Counsyl, Balaji obtained BS, MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Chemical Engineering, all from Stanford. He then taught data mining, statistics, and computational biology in the Department of Statistics at Stanford before founding Counsyl. Recently, he taught an online Stanford course on the theory and practice of startups that reached over 125,000 students. He also runs the Stanford Bitcoin Group and advises a number of early stage companies.
Balaji is a big thinker. He recently penned an editorial piece titled Software is Reorganizing the World that discusses how social network relationships formed in the cloud are beginning to catalyze physical migrations and gatherings of increasing scale, thereby reorganizing the world.
As a General Partner, Balaji will be leading investments and joining boards on behalf of a16z. While broadly interested in technology in general, he’s particularly enthusiastic about “real world” applications where digital bits interface with physical atoms and substantive problems, such as quantified self (healthcare), MOOCs/edtech (education), Bitcoin (finance), drones, and 3D printing.