Within five seconds it’s clear that Andreessen Horowitz’s new partner, Vijay Pande, will fit in with the firm in at least three ways:
– He believes software is the solution, answer, noun that follows every verb to almost every single one of society’s and the business world’s ills. He’s yet another preacher in the A16Z church of software. Hallelujah!
– He thinks big. Creating whole new categories of investment kind of big.
– He talks uncomfortably fast. I hope the following Q&A is mostly accurate. I had to ice my fingers once we were done. He joked that he wondered if they clocked him during the interview as some sort of test.
[Disclosure: A16Z general partners Mark Andresseen and Jeff Jordan are investors in Pando].
Pande is the six-year-old firm’s ninth general partner hire— a feat in and of itself. 20-year-old Benchmark, for instance, only has five partners. Partners at top venture firms typically describe hiring a partner in terms of marriage. It can take years of conversations. “Well, when we first met Roger, we knew that someday we’d want to work together…after ten years of dinners, we made an offer.”
A16Z, under that metaphor, is a raging, impulsive polygamist.
In general, A16Z has always had outsized ambitions in terms of what services VCs should provide, how many people they should employ, and –compared to some firms– the scope of their investing mandate. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that part two of the news coming out of the partnership today is the intention to raise a separate, companion “bio+computer science” fund.
I chatted with Pande yesterday about the move and what it means. The following are excerpts from the conversation. At times it’s both thrilling and frighteningly sci-fi sounding…
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