美国顶级风投 a16z 是怎样炼成的?

a16z 公司是当下顶尖的硅谷风险资本公司,除了两位创始人的显赫背景,还有哪些因素让这家公司迅速成为硅谷炙手可热投资公司?

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a16z 公司是当下顶尖的硅谷风险资本公司。一位创业者探讨风投公司 a16z 的特别之处,What’s So Special About Andreessen Horowitz? ,文章一开始,这位名叫 Mike Troiano 的哥们这样认为:

I used to think Andreessen Horowitz’ success was rooted in the reputations of its founding partners and extended team, collectively representing a karmic goodwill repository of epic proportion in the valley and beyond.

但这是 a16z 的一面(But that’s only part of the story.)下图展示了风投对于创业公司的意义:

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其中第三点所谈的「内容(content)」我深感赞同,a16z 的播客节目是我每周必听的节目:

A16z takes this to a new level. Their excellent and consistent flow of blog content is second to none, and reflects the personal participation of their managing partners, not just associates and dedicated functionaries. Their podcast channel is a must-listen among global technology thought leaders, and a powerful platform to increase the visibility of portfolio companies. The partners maintain a pretty consistent presence on social media channels from Twitter to Medium, and if all that weren’t enough, Ben Horowitz even wrote a goddam book in his spare time, which people actually read and talk about.

进一步来看,a16z 的特别之处就是:

What makes Andreessen Horowitz special is that they added a whole new cap to the pyramid of VC value-add: Capability.

所谓的「Capability」就是将「content」实践出来的能力

A16z isn’t just publishing information on how to implement a content marketing program; how to use it to attract the audience you’re interested in, engage that audience over time, convert awareness into interest, and harvest opportunities through face-to-face dialog. They are doing it for us.

我经常阅读 a16z 投资合伙人的文章,可谓受益匪浅。比如他们做了份衡量创业公司的 16 个指标,老美做事还是比较务实: 16 Startup Metrics

Ultimately, though, good metrics aren’t about raising money from VCs — they’re about running the business in a way where founders know how and why certain things are working (or not) … and can address or adjust accordingly.

最后来看看 a16z 两位创始人。2015年4月,《纽约客》长文报道了 a16z 创始人马克·安德森,这篇报道既描写了安德森的工作状态,也介绍了硅谷的创业投资规则(潜规则),比如文中说创业者会以伟人的历史观是正确的,而创业者恰好正是伟人来给投资人做展示,而风投往往会给出晦涩难懂的说法。

另一位创始人的本·霍洛维茨,在过去的十五年时间里连续创业三次,从互联网浏览器到Saas云服务再到风险投资。功成名就的霍洛维茨不必再和媒体人长谈对当下的看法,即使在《纽约客》杂志对安德森的深度报道中,也鲜见霍洛维茨对于时下互联网的看法,更多的还是跟随记者追忆曾经与马克安德森一起并肩作战的日子。这一叙述模式也延续到霍洛维茨去年的畅销书《创业维艰》中。

我在去年的一篇书评里这样评价创业的畅销书

在这一个个创业者的小圈子里,《从0到1》、《创业维艰》这样的书有着极高的讨论「价值」:不同创业者之间可以尽情的讨论书里的商业模式和发展战略而绝口不提产品;创业者与投资人之间的「隔阂」也被这些书消解,这两类人第一次实现了「心灵」上互通,在你言我语的引用中依稀看到未来公司上市后的盛况;而创业者自己,纵然他不喜欢这些书,但在周遭创业合伙人与投资人不断分享与推荐的语境下,除了点赞,已无别的选择。