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!

We are delighted to announce that the six General Partners of Andreessen Horowitz, with our families, are all committing to donate at least half of all income from our venture capital careers to philanthropic causes during our lifetimes.

The reason is simple.  We are fortunate to work with some of the best entrepreneurs and technologists in the world, and in the process help create great and valuable companies.  That activity, done well over decades, can generate a lot of money that can then be productively deployed philanthropically back into the society that makes it all possible.  We love participating in this process, and we hope that our philanthropy can, over time, help make the world a better place.

As an initial catalyst, we are making an immediate group donation of $1 million to a set of six vital Silicon Valley-related nonprofit organizations.  Those causes, and their respective sponsors, are:

Signed,
Ben, Jeff, John, Marc, Peter, and Scott

Over the last several weeks, there have been erroneous reports in the press that my partner Jeff Jordan and/or I might become an operating executive of Yahoo in some capacity.

To be crystal clear, neither Jeff, nor I, nor any of our partners at Andreessen Horowitz, are in the running for, or would accept, any operating role at Yahoo, including CEO, acting CEO, chairman, or executive chairman.

Jeff and I have high regard for Yahoo, but we are fully committed to our day jobs as general partners at Andreessen Horowitz and board members of our portfolio companies.

Today, my company Ning, where I serve as chairman and cofounder, is announcing that it has agreed to merge into Glam Media.  In this post, I’d like to briefly explain the whats and whys, and to thank a lot of people who have worked very hard to get us to this point.

Ning is my third company, founded several years ago by Gina Bianchini and myself, and run for the last couple years by my close friend and colleague Jason Rosenthal.  Over the last two years, Jason and his team have brilliantly executed a dramatic transformation of the company and today Ning hosts over 100,000 social networks covering every conceivable topic and interest, from 50 Cent to Sarah Palin and beyond. Ning’s mission has always been “your own social network for anything” and the team at Ning has worked hard to achieve this.

Glam is a company founded by longtime entrepreneur and innovator Samir Arora.  I first met Samir almost 15 years ago in his role as founder and CEO of NetObjects, one of the first, and best, web and e-commerce development systems, later bought by IBM.  Before that, Samir was a longtime senior contributor at Apple, where his work led to Apple’s famous “Knowledge Navigator” vision video and then later, through a long and winding road, to the Apple iPad.

In Glam, Samir and his outstanding team have built one of the leading premium content networks on the web.  Glam’s high-end content has amazing reach: 200 million users and 2.6 billion page views across 2,500 publishers, with advertising participation by 1,000 premium brands. Combining Ning’s social technology, user base, and 100,000+ networks will immediately boost Glam’s reach to 240 million users and 3.1 billion page views, add recurring subscription revenue to Glam’s business model, and most importantly, set up the combined company to be the leading social media content company on the web.

As consumer behavior broadly moves from old media to the web—as software eats content—the opportunity for high-end online content is gigantic and our combined company will be in the pole position in this huge market.  To that end, I am also delighted to announce that I will be joining the board of directors of Glam after the completion of the merger, which we expect to occur in the fourth quarter of 2011.  I’m thrilled to be able to work with Samir and his team at Glam, as well as Jason and his team from Ning, to build an amazing combined company.

Now, I owe some people huge thank you’s.

To Jason, the management team, and all of the wonderful current and former team members at Ning who have worked so hard to get us here, as well as our extremely supportive investors along the way, thank you so much. Working with you over these last several years has been one of the highlights of my life, and I look forward to working with you for years to come.

To Samir and the Glam team, thank you for building Glam into such a great company. I’m excited to pursue the huge combined opportunity with you.

Finally, a very special thank you to Gina, my cofounder and longtime friend and colleague, for all of your insight, innovation, hard work, and commitment going back all the way to the beginning.

Andreessen Horowitz prefers funding companies whose CEO is a co-founder. We also prefer founders who are technical. Put the two together, and you often have a CEO who has to hire executives into roles (e.g., marketing, sales, customer support, finance) she has never done before.

How in the world do you interview and recruit someone for a role you’ve never done before? Start with Ben’s latest blog post “Hiring Executives: If You’ve Never Done the Job, How Do You Hire Someone Good?“.

One of the best parts of my job as a venture capitalist is that I meet super-interesting and super-motivated cofounders all the time. As you might expect, most cofounders have compelling personal histories that have shaped them as entrepreneurs—stories such as “started coding at age 10 before ever seeing a computer”; “enrolled at Stanford at age 16 and graduated in 3 years”; “founded and sold two businesses while in high school” and so on.

Against this backdrop of amazing stories, we recently met an entrepreneur whose personal background is so jaw-dropping that it ought to written into a Hollywood movie script. Head on over to Ben’s Blog to hear the story of Christian Gheorge, co-founder of a company named Proferi, which we recently funded along with our colleague and friend Aneel Bhusri at Greylock. The story begins with in Communist-ruled Romania in the 1970s. Go read the rest of the story.