Hunch and SiteAdvisor founder, and prolific angel investor Chris Dixon is leaving his current position at eBay to join Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner. Dixon will become the firm’s seventh general partner, and will focus mainly on consumer investments across seed, venture, and growth stages. The move was first reported by Kara Swisher over the weekend.
You can read Marc Andreessen’s blog post on the announcement here and Dixon’s post here.
Dixon is a big win for Andreessen Horowitz, as he’s been both a successful startup founder and investor. Dixon, who began programming at eight years of age, originally co-founded website security rating startup SiteAdvisor, which was acquired by McAfee in 2006. Dixon also co-founded personalized recommendations startup Hunch, which was acquired by eBay for around $80 million a year ago.
Dixon, who has been working at eBay until now, helped lead the commerce company’s personalization efforts and Hunch integration for the past year in New York. Dixon will actually be moving from New York to be based in San Francisco (but will maintain a residence in New York, he says).
Dixon has also made angel investments in more than 50 startups including Hipmunk, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Stripe, Pinterest, Dropbox, Codecademy, Stack Overflow, Bloomreach, Optimizely, Trialpay, OMGPOP, Skype. He co-founded a East Coast seed venture fund called Founder Collective and via that fund, made investments in MakerBot, Ifttt, Milo (acquired by eBay), Betaworks, Groupme (acquired by Skype), and Buzzfeed. Additionally, Dixon has been a leader in the New York tech scene.
And Dixon has been an Associate at Bessemer Venture Partners, a programmer at Arbitrade, a hedge fund focusing on high-speed options trading (acquired by Citigroup), and received a BA and MA from Columbia as well as an MBA from Harvard.
The firm’s founder Marc Andreessen told TechCrunch in an interview today that the firm has been spending a lot of time with Dixon lately, and it was clear that Dixon was an ideal investor to have considering his experience as a founder, CEO and investor. Andreessen says that of late, VCs have become diluted when it comes to actually having the experience of running a startup or company. When Horowitz and he originally founded the firm a few years ago, their aim was to have investors that had been in entrepreneurs’ shoes either at the CEO or founder level.
Dixon of course fulfills this, and more. Andreessen says that not only is Dixon a great example of what they want in a partners, but he also bring a great track record individually as an investor and he was routinely cited by startup entrepreneurs as one of the most helpful investors.
In an interview, Dixon said that the firm was a great fit from the start. He says he’s worked with a lot of VCs as both an investor and founder, and was most impressed by Andreessen Horowitz’s full-service offerings to help entrepreneurs. He feels strongly that the firm’s focus on spending the fund fees on operations and staff to help entrepreneurs, when it comes to marketing, development, recruiting and more is what entrepreneurs need in an investment firm. In fact, he says he wished he had this type of service when he was a startup founder.
While Dixon will be moving to the West Coast, he still plans to spend time in New York and hopes to make a bunch of investments in the region. Dixon will be only making investments via Andreessen Horowitz and will cease making personal investments in startups.
As for Hunch and eBay, Andreessen, who serves on eBay’s board, says that the company’s CEO John Donahoe gave Dixon his blessing to leave. The integration between Hunch and eBay, is “going really well, and the Hunch team is doing really cool stuff with eBay around personalizations and recommendations,” says Andreessen. Dixon adds that his co-founder at Hunch will be taking over management of the team, and says integration “is in a good place.”
There’s no doubt that Andreessen Horowitz is building a powerhouse of talent within the firm, and Dixon is part of this strategy. The firm also recently hired Twitter marketing exec Elizabeth Weil to help portfolio companies with business development and marketing strategies. The firm also announced in September that former Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty joined as a “special advisor.”
Clearly, the firm is onto something. Fortune reported that Andreessen Horowitz has returned its first fund two times over, and within a matter of year, has been able to rise as a top-tier firm in Silicon Valley.
Dixon also used to be our host for founder stories (Kleiner partner and former Twitter exec Mike Abbott is now our West Coast host). Check out Dixon’s interview with NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg below.