A Venture-Capital Newbie Shakes Up Silicon Valley

Marc and Ben have a great formula for winning. It’s the same one that made them successful when they worked together inside companies. They’re operators. They’ve been there. They’ve positioned companies to win. They’ve scaled companies to make a difference. And they have keen insights into winnable market spaces and the talent to make winning a reality. Their firm is a great asset for an economy in need of stimulation.

BY PUI-WING TAM, GEOFFREY A. FOWLER AND AMIR EFRATI

MENLO PARK, Calif.—As a newly minted venture capitalist, Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, aimed for nothing less than big. “Whale” size, as he puts it.

Like other investors here, he’d been eying Web companies with explosive growth and global star power. But acquiring shares in tech titans like Facebook is tricky. Most are closely held and don’t trade on a public stock market. Interlopers can’t simply waltz in.

So Mr. Andreessen set out to make his own rules—maneuvering his way into hot private deals at huge cost.

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