We just took the wraps off 21, a project I’ve been working on for sometime. I’d like to give a little bit of history and describe my shift in time commitments going forward.
About 21 months ago I co-founded a Bitcoin company with my friend Matt Pauker and a group of highly skilled electrical engineers and computer scientists. In early 2013, we were one of the first serious Bitcoin startups and I believe we contributed to awakening many of the Valley’s major investors to the technical potential of Bitcoin.
One of the investors who we had the pleasure of talking to at the time was Andreessen Horowitz; over the period from May to October of 2013, I spoke to Ben, Chris, and Marc about Bitcoin and many other things. During that period, the company made rapid progress and Andreessen Horowitz won a competitive process to lead the B round with a $25M dollar investment.
At the time, my particular skillset was not needed on a day-to-day basis at the company, but the interests of Andreessen Horowitz and 21 were now closely aligned and I was having a lot of fun hanging out at the firm. So we all decided that perhaps the best way to advance technology in general and Bitcoin in particular was to join Andreessen Horowitz as a General Partner, with a focus on Bitcoin, biomedicine, MOOCs, and regulated industries more broadly — all areas that expanded the firm’s ambit to the new domains that software was disrupting and where I had some personal experience.
While not all aspects have been publicly announced yet, this project of building the theoretical and practical machinery to reinvent regulated industries has gone very well — even better than we expected in that we seem to have tapped the cultural zeitgeist. However, it’s become clear to me that the biggest new disruptor across the board is now likely to be Bitcoin, and with this new $116M funding announcement I am excited to announce that I’m going to be working full-time at 21 and part-time at a16z as a Board Partner.
Just to be clear, I’ll still be leading new investments on behalf of a16z, taking board seats, building our software team, helping our entrepreneurs, and remaining closely involved with the firm. However, I’ll be focusing a little less on predicting the future — and a little more on inventing it.