We believe the most successful American Dynamism companies share a few common characteristics:

  • They’re able to anticipate technological turning points and breakthroughs.
  • They identify, recruit, and empower the world’s best engineers by giving them insanely hard, cross-disciplinary problems to own.
  • They continuously push the limits of what’s possible with technology, and innovate quickly through both success and failure.
  • They are excellent at fundraising, knowing well that capital deserts often exist along the path to success in businesses with a hardware or manufacturing component.
  • Their founders are highly technical, and brave enough to attempt what many view as crazy or impossible.

At the heart of all of these is a deep love for technology and how it can transform our world. The American Dynamism team at a16z shares that passion. We often invest in companies well before they have clear “product-market fit” in the traditional sense. Companies in this sector may take years to establish that milestone; for example, it took nearly 7 years and more than $100 million for SpaceX to successfully launch Falcon 1. That means we spend a lot of time understanding how technical shifts might impact these complex domains — whether that’s the latest deep learning research, or advances in fields like energy or materials science. It means knowing the industry experts, and who is coming up to displace them. It means having an informed sense of what might not be technically feasible today, but could be in a month or a year.

Unlike other large-scale venture capital firms, Andreessen Horowitz was started by and is still run by founders and serious technologists. It’s who we are. And we want more founders and technologists to work with us. 

To this end, we’re excited to announce our Engineering Fellows program with the a16z American Dynamism team. This is a 12-month, full-time, paid program for early-career engineers and researchers with expertise at the intersection of hardware and software (e.g., autonomy, simulation, controls, AI) who are passionate about technology and want to scale their impact within the American Dynamism sectors (defense, energy, space, industrials, manufacturing, and public safety). It’s an opportunity to join our investment team and:

  • Learn about venture capital investing — how we identify opportunities, diligence companies, make investment decisions, and support our founders and companies. 
  • Help us think through new technologies (e.g., understand how neural-network-powered simulation techniques will disrupt fields that rely on numerical solvers, or research how hardware design and manufacturing will be affected by LLMs and diffusion models).
  • Work with our incredible portfolio companies, helping them with things like technical problem solving and hiring. 
  • Participate in the communities that support these new technologies (e.g. attend technical conferences and events, contribute to relevant open source projects).

In the process, our fellows will spend the year meeting with and learning from some of the smartest and most ambitious founders in the world, who are working on the most important problems facing our society. This is an ideal opportunity for someone entrepreneurial and technical, who is curious about investing and what it takes to build a business. After the program, participants might opt to join a startup or research lab, start a company themselves, or pursue a career in venture capital.  

We’ve put together a lot more details about the program, as well as the link to apply, here

Come join us! 

— David, Katherine, and Erin

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