Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. Art by Mike Sullivan.
April 16, 2021 6:01 AM PDT

As recently as two years ago, the performance of Andreessen Horowitz’s investments in tech startups were average, despite the firm’s outsize public profile. But its partners had placed bigger bets on cryptocurrencies than almost anyone else, and they did so during moments when most investors had soured on the field.

The firm’s patience paid off. With this week’s Coinbase public listing, Andreessen Horowitz generated one of the biggest paper returns from a single-company investment in VC history. Its stake in the cryptocurrency brokerage is worth $10 billion, which is more than half the amount of capital the firm raised from investors in its 12 years of operation. It could generate a similar return from its stake in enterprise software firm Databricks, and it holds billions of dollars’ worth of other cryptocurrency assets, according to a person with direct knowledge of the firm.

Now, in the wake of a pandemic that accelerated the adoption of internet software and caused a rush of new capital into private and public technology stocks, Andreessen Horowitz is supercharging the bold VC playbook that brought it to this point. It’s continuing to hire staff to help startup founders with functions such as sales, marketing and recruiting. It’s placing bets on more startups than any of its top Silicon Valley rivals, underscoring its faith in co-founder Marc Andreessen’s doctrine that “software is eating the world”—even if that inevitably means enduring some spectacular startup flameouts in the process.

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