Archive

Uncategorized

There’s a debate that rages in the corridors of VCs, startups, and other intense entrepreneurial centers, which is: Can you have it all? Aren’t the best CEOs and founders so ambitious, so driven, that they must sacrifice everything to make it work? We have seen couples struggle with this on a personal level, and there is almost always an imbalance that leads to deep sacrifices on one front or the other … MORE

 

The bet on Lyft has always been that ridesharing wins and it is ultimately a much bigger market than just a car for hire.

From their learnings at Zimride, the ridesharing predecessor to Lyft, the founders have held a hard-earned secret about all the subtle things necessary for people to come together in a car with strangers and enjoy it. For instance, John and Logan realized that women feel much more comfortable getting into a car if there’s a woman. Today 30% of the Lyft drivers are women, which has also had the effect of attracting women passengers who now make up more than half of all riders.

For my generation, it’s hard to fully understand the sea change of the millennial psyche. Getting into the back seat of an eight-passenger black suburban by yourself isn’t just uncool, it’s offensive — like littering, but on mass scale. If millennials can’t ride their bikes or take the bus or train, they want to rideshare. And increasingly, it’s a social experience, a la Airbnb — another differentiated, millennial brand.

Similar to the early days of building out wireless networks, we are laying the groundwork for critical American infrastructure as we transform the $2.25 trillion U.S. personal transportation market. Think of cars as cellphones in this scenario.

Ridesharing will have a dramatic impact on world around us. With this new round of funding, Lyft will be rolling out ridesharing in every major U.S. city. For those of you who haven’t tried Lyft Line, I’d invite you to save some money, be kind to the environment, and meet a few new friends along the way…

Think about what’s possible with smartphones today. The form and sophisticated functionality of smartphones has led to businesses we couldn’t ever have imagined. It’s made possible partly because of the “sensorification” of the landscape, coupled with mobile and a friendly UI. That same sensorification needs to move to the enterprise. MORE

Something often overlooked when we talk about all the shiny new connected gadgets emerging out of the ‘Internet of Things’ is what happens to all the old things when they’re connected to the internet? MORE

DevOps is more than just a methodology. It’s a must-have skill set for the modern programmer — and is increasingly becoming its own department as well (the subject of much debate). And the growth of the DevOps movement coupled with complex cloud infrastructure has opened up many opportunities today… MORE

At the tip of the innovation spear, behemoths like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo! have to invent technologies that deal with the hard problems they encounter internally as they grow. Out of these efforts, a number of projects like MapReduce Cassandra, BigTable, and Borg have been commercialized into products, companies, or open-source projects like Hadoop.

The founding of Optimizely follows a similar vein. The founders—Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen—met as product managers at Google, where testing and optimization (such as A/B testing) are deeply ingrained in the product development process. So much so that it was widely reported that Marissa Mayer once tested 41 different shades of blue for the Google homepage!

But it was during this time at Google that it became obvious to Dan and Pete that every company —big or small—should be able to use testing the same way. They set out to build Optimizely, and in a short four years, the company is now the hands-down leader in the new software category of website optimization.

As we move from on-premise to cloud computing, our firm is betting that a completely new set of enterprise software franchises will emerge. Optimizely is clearly one of them, which is why I am pleased to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is leading a $57M Series B round in Optimizely.

We invested in the company for many reasons, including:

Strong founder/market fit. The founders have taken a core Google competency and are making it their life’s work to extend it to the rest of the world, big or small.

Classic disruption. The company converted a complex process that requires engineering resources into a simple tool that almost anyone can use, which dramatically broadens adoption.

Solved a hairy technical problem. Before Optimizely, it was really hard to create drag-and-drop tests via a web-based editor while avoiding slowing down the page.

This investment also represents a few larger trends we care about, including:

Mobile. Optimizely just launched its iOS product and is already seeing tremendous demand from new and existing customers. We see huge upside potential here.

SaaS and especially the “departmentalization of IT”. Marketers, product managers, and other operators throughout a company can buy and use the product on their own—instead of having to go through only a central IT organization.

Democratization of tech. Optimizely also belongs to a larger category of tools that takes what was previously only possible for people with technical training, and makes them accessible to people who don’t (or don’t want to) code but want to apply their expertise on the web.

Optimizely is the clear leader in a huge and new must-have SaaS category. I’m thrilled to be joining the board and look forward to working with Dan and Pete to grow the company into the next category-killing franchise!