VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is announcing another major win for its powerhouse of talent—— Ken Coleman, enterprise tech veteran, is joining the firm as a Special Advisor. Coleman is a Silicon Valley pioneer and former chairman/CEO of ITM Software, and a trusted mentor to countless IT companies and entrepreneurs, including the firm’s founder Ben Horowitz. Coleman joins fellow special advisors, former Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers at the firm.
Coleman has vast experience as an executive at some of the early technology pioneers in Silicon Valley. He is currently the chairman of publicly traded Accelrys, the developer of a scientific enterprise software for lifecycle management. Coleman was also the founder of ITM Software Corporation, an enterprise software company for which he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 2001 to 2006.
Previously, from 1987 until 2001, Coleman was a senior executive in Sales, Services and Marketing, at Silicon Graphics, which Horowitz calls the Google of its day. Prior to joining Silicon Graphics, Coleman was Vice President of Product Development at Activision. He is also member of the Board of Directors of MIPS Technologies, Inc., a licensor of microprocessor architecture, United Online, an Internet service provider, and City National Bank, a commercial banking institution.
It was at Silicon Graphics where Coleman became Horowitz’ own mentor. Coleman actually hired Horowitz out of college for a summer internship that ended up being Horowitz’ first job in Silicon Valley. The rest of his career was deeply shaped by his experience at Silicon Graphics and the mentorship Coleman provided, explains Horowitz in an interview. “He taught me everything I know,” he says.
For the firm’s portfolio companies, Coleman will help CEOs navigate the many challenges that CEOs face at all stages of growing a company, and developing a billion dollar business. While the former executive has considerable experience in enterprise technologies, he will be advising a broad spectrum of startups in various industries, including consumer.
The value add of bringing Coleman on is multi-fold, says Horowitz. Coleman understands the process of starting something from nothing, as well as being able to scale a startup into a business and then build upon that.
Coleman tells us, “I can help startups get through many phases of growth. For example, when a company wants to go from $50 million in revenue to $100 million in sales, the structure and people have to change. I have lived through these growth changes.”
He adds that he’s especially excited about being part of the Andreessen Horowitz team, and the ethos that the firm promotes in helping founders build great businesses.
There’s no doubt that Andreessen Horowitz is a network within the firm with each hire it makes. The firm recently added Chris Dixon as an investment partner, and brought on Twitter marketing exec Elizabeth Weil to help portfolio companies with business development and marketing strategies. Special advisors expand on this network as well.
“We modeled Ron Conway, Ken Coleman and Michael Ovitz in creating a valuable network for entrepreneurs,” Horowitz says.