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Andreessen Horowitz Appoints its Second Female Partner in Less Than a Month
Less than a month after Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) appointed former federal prosecutor Katie Haun as its first-ever female partner, the VC giant on Tuesday named Connie Chan a general partner, the second in its nine-year history.
Chan becomes the first person at a16z to be promoted in-house as a general partner. It had previously been against the firm’s policy for an employee to become a GP through promotion.
Ben Horowitz, co-founder of a16z, gave some background on the firm’s previous policy – and how it risked losing Chan.
I could not say it, because I felt an immediate conflict with where she was going and the way we had constructed the firm. When we founded the firm, we made a brand promise that if you raised money from us, we would put a Founder or CEO of a significant technology company on your board. That was our General Partner requirement, because we were determined to be the best place for technical founders to learn how to be CEO. To make good on the promise, we built the most powerful platform for giving founders a big time CEO-like network from capital markets to talent to big company customers to the press. On top of that, we committed to putting someone on the board who could help develop the CEO skill set. Finally, we wanted everyone in the firm to culturally understand the struggle of building a company. These were great ideas, but it meant that we did not promote General Partners from within. And in my heart, I knew that one day we would have to promote Connie or miss out. The thought was making me a little insane.
Horowitz credits Chan for having an innovative approach to investments that sets her apart from others at the firm. This approach, Horowitz notes, helped Andreessen Horowitz land both Pinterest and Lime.
“While the rest of us described deals beginning with the entrepreneur and the size of the opportunity, Connie always saw things from the target customer point of view first then worked her way back to the entrepreneur and the market size,” Horowitz writes.
Horowitz also pointed to Chan’s work in China.
She found and championed blockbuster deals, which generated amazing returns. After looking at the broader ecosystem, she decided that we needed to understand the innovations in China much better if our companies were going to compete, so she took that on personally. Yes, you read that right. She took on China. And, as with everything Connie did, she quickly became the best at that. She developed into the industry’s leading authority in explaining Chinese technology products to people in the United States.
Chan began working at a16z in 2011.
Photo: Andreessen Horowitz