“I’m a fuckin’ genius, Jimmy Neutron”
—Soulja Boy, “The Best”
Back in 2007 when Marc and I were angel investors, we read everything we could on the emerging techniques for building products and companies. We were hungry for any information that would help us understand the state-of-the-art. Among all the things we read, one blogger really stood out. He broke down techniques for distributing consumer products in a way that was so smart, so well articulated and so on-the-money that he turned product distribution into a science. The blogger’s name was Andrew Chen.
We reached out to Andrew to learn more and he was generous with his time and ideas. So when Andrew decided to start a company, Marc and I were eager to invest. We began our diligence with a reference call to his former boss who said: “Andrew is so much smarter than everyone here, that we call him Jimmy Neutron.”
Marc and I invested. Andrew and his team worked like crazy to build a great company, but they struggled to find product/market fit. Nonetheless, they continued to grind it out, developing impressive new product distribution techniques along the way. Ultimately, the company did not succeed, but our admiration for Andrew grew. Successful startups are a combination of ingenuity, hard work, and luck. While Andrew had almost no luck, he had plenty of ingenuity and nobody worked harder. Beyond that, he became the world’s leading expert at consumer and bottom-up SaaS product distribution. We often thought about how great it would be to have Andrew help our companies.
Andrew seemed to be thinking along similar lines in terms of helping companies. He became an active angel investor and advisor for startups including Dropbox, AngelList, Gusto, Barkbox, Front, Boba Guys, and many others. Beyond that, he kept writing great blog posts and organized conferences to build the community and share knowledge about the field.
So when Andrew called me up to talk about what he should do next in his career, I had a very clear idea. I thought he should join Andreessen Horowitz and help the next consumer and SaaS entrepreneurs achieve greatness. That’s why I am so pleased to announce that Andrew Chen will be our newest General Partner.