One of (if not the) most well-respected fixtures in the Canadian venture capital scene has joined Andreessen Horowitz as a board partner, as Boris Wertz adds the Valley-based firm to his resume. Wertz has made a name for himself as a shrewd early stage investor with his own Version One Ventures early stage fund, which he operates from his home base in Vancouver.
Wertz’s portfolio includes social publishing platform Wattpad, men’s subscription clothing startup Frank & Oak, crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and VC investment scouting platform Mattermark, to name just a few. He doesn’t limit his investment expertise to Canadian companies, but it is a space he knows well, and that makes him a very interesting addition to the roster at a16z.
As a board partner, he’s not a full-time partner, but will instead operate as a scout for a16z, highlighting great companies for the firm to look at and bringing them into deals he may have been looking at as potential targets for his own investment vehicle. He’ll also act as a16z’s representative on the boards of some startups that the firm puts funds behind.
Andreessen Horowitz has posted a Q&A with Wertz on their blog to celebrate his arrival at the firm, and this exchange about the startup world beyond SV probably best illustrates what he might bring to the Menlo Park institution:
a16z: How does being in Canada give you a different perspective?
BW: I wouldn’t say it’s Canada, as much as being outside of Silicon Valley. I think there is Silicon Valley, and then there are smaller ecosystems in places like New York, Toronto, , Seattle and other places. Compared to Silicon Valley, they all lack consistency of deal flow. That said, great companies do get built outside of Silicon Valley, and there are great opportunities. And this is the interesting thing, when you find an entrepreneur outside of the Valley usually they have this extra passion for what they are building because in some ways they have to work much harder to pull it off. They know it’s hard to raise money. They know it’s even harder to build a company. Yet they are still doing it.