Andreessen Horowitz is boosting its investing team today with the addition of SuccessFactors Founder and SAP exec Lars Dalgaard as general partner.
Dalgaard founded human capital management software giant SuccessFactors, which was acquired for a whopping $3.5 billion by SAP in 2011. As A16Z founder Ben Horowitz writes in blog post announcing Dalgaard’s addition, the acquisition “was by far the largest and most important acquisition in the history of the SaaS category.” While at SAP, Dalgaard was in charge of the enterprise incumbent’s cloud business unit, which he was able to grow to $1 billion in revenue.
SuccessFactors was a success under Dalgaard’s leadership long before SAP shelled out billions for the company. Founded in 2001, SuccessFactors went public in 2007. The company has thousands of enterprise customers and brought in hundreds of millions in revenue.
Prior to founding SuccessFactors, Dalgaard held management positions at consumer goods giant Unilever and pharmaceutical company Novartis. He stepped down from SAP last week.
Dalgaard fit A16Z’s criteria of being a founder and operator, and it should be interesting to see who he is bullish on in the enterprise. He was an early investor in Domo, the hot business analytics and intelligence startup founded by Omniture founder Josh James.
Dalgaard tells us in an interview that when considering becoming an investor, he thought seriously about private equity. But he realized he was done fixing other large company’s problems and was more interested in the core of starting things as a VC investor. He also evaluated whether to join a firm at the seed level, or early stage or even growth investing, but was attracted to the early-stage to growth opportunities.
He was considering joining “the top three firms VC firms globally,” but when he spent time at A16Z, and with the firms partners; things clicked, he explains. “There is so much energy here, I want to get my ass handed to me every day, and this firm was going to challenge me.” He adds that he quickly realized the firm is also not just a marketing machine but clearly adds real value to its portfolio companies when it comes to sales, marketing, recruiting, design and more.
Horowitz explains that Dalgaard won’t just be investing in enterprise, as he brings consumer knowledge to the firm from his past experience at Unilever. As for what Dalgaard is bullish on when it comes to investing, he says “consumer is repetitive right now but there are so many unseen areas in real estate and medical that have opportunities. In terns of enterprise, he things many of the current enterprise products are “ugly and disgusting and hard to user (he tried to fix that, he says, with SuccessFactors) and there’s an opportunity to create products that provide better experiences for businesses.