I am humbled and grateful to be a co-winner of the 2013 Queen Elizabeth Prize. Thank you to the judges, and congratulations to Robert, Vint, Louis, and Tim.
I would first like to acknowledge my partner in creating Mosaic, Eric Bina. Eric co-wrote the original code for Mosaic with me — specifically all the difficult parts.
I would also like to acknowledge Larry Smarr, Joe Hardin, and all of my colleagues at NCSA and the University of Illinois at the time.
I would further like to acknowledge the distributed group of innovators and contributors who collectively built the web as we know it today during the era in which Mosaic was created.
I will donate the prize money to charitable programs that help spread the culture and foundational knowledge of engineering — such as scholarships and summer programs for engineering students.
It is amazing to think that the consumer Internet and the World Wide Web are still only 20 years old. So much important work has been done in the last 20 years — including bringing the Internet to more than 2 billion people around the world but also so much important work has yet to be done. I firmly believe our field’s best days are still ahead of us, and I can’t wait to see what the next generation of engineers will accomplish.
I’m excited to welcome Chris Dixon to Andreessen Horowitz as our seventh General Partner!
Chris has an extensive and distinguished track record in Internet entrepreneurship and angel investing, including all of the following:
- Cofounder of two prominent startups of the last decade, SiteAdvisor and Hunch, both of which had successful exits to McAfee and eBay respectively.
- Highly successful personal angel investments in more than 50 startups including Hipmunk, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Stripe, Pinterest, Dropbox, Codecademy, Stack Overflow, Bloomreach, Optimizely, Trialpay, OMGPOP, and our own favorite, Skype.
- Cofounder of a prominent East Coast seed venture fund called Founder Collective. Chris’s investments through Founder Collective include MakerBot, Ifttt, Milo, Betaworks, Groupme, and Buzzfeed.
- Prominent blogger on entrepreneurship and startups.
Those are the facts. Here’s the context that made it clear to us that Chris is our kind of person:
- Chris began programming at 8 (beating me by a whole year), starting on a TRS-80 Model 1.
- Chris had the good judgment to both join one of the great legendary venture capital firms, Bessemer, in 2003, and also to leave to start his own company, SiteAdvisor, two years later.
- Chris started SiteAdvisor in 2005, during the height of the nuclear winter for startups following the dot com bust. It’s hard to think back from the current startup boom to that time, when only the most determined and bull-headed entrepreneurs were starting companies. As my partner Ben often says, the most important attribute for entrepreneurs is courage, and the founding of SiteAdvisor showed that Chris has it in spades.
- Chris also started angel investing in 2006 — again, this was a time in which the Internet angel investors who were active in the market could be enumerated on the fingers of two hands. (Most of the prior generation of angel investors had their fingers burned entirely off.)
- Hunch, Chris’s second company, was much higher profile than SiteAdvisor but never quite clicked as a business. To his enormous credit, rather than giving up, he guided Hunch to a successful acquisition by eBay. Since I’m on the eBay board, I’ve had the chance to watch the deal from the inside all the way through, and I think the Hunch/eBay deal could be a case study for successful acquisitions and integrations of early-stage startups by large technology companies. The highly talented Hunch team is doing great things within eBay today.
- Both in the reference calls we did prior to making our decision, and in the incoming calls we have received since Kara Swisher inconveniently (and accurately) leaked our discussions with Chris on Saturday, one central fact keeps coming up about Chris in his role as an angel investor: he is one of the most valuable and useful investors any entrepreneur can have. Entrepreneurs who work with Chris routinely say that he was a bigger contributor to their success than their own VCs — a characteristic we really respect.
- Chris’s blog is not only one of the best living textbooks of entrepreneurship in the world, but conveys a distinct point of view on how to build a company. When you work with Chris, you know what you’re getting — in particular, his value system shines through.
We’re thrilled to welcome Chris to the team!