a16z’s Andrew Chen on the opportunities today for consumer tech startups

What’s happening in consumer tech?

At TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco last week, Extra Crunch managing editor Eric Eldon sat down with Andrew Chen, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Andrew focuses on consumer tech, with investments in companies like Barkbox, Boba Guys, Tinder, Substack and more. They talked about everything from design trends, to marketing, to revenue models — including the revenue model that Andrew is least interested in right now.

You can find my notes analyzing the conversation below, including Chen’s view of consumer SaaS, how he thinks about marketing channels now, key verticals like AR/VR, esports and housing. And ads.

Consumer design is taking over the workplace

As work apps like Slack and Zoom grow more and more popular, it’s no longer the norm for the apps we use at work to be ugly, confusing messes. A big part of this is driven, Chen says, by designers from the popular consumer developers moving into enterprise.

“What we’re finding is that the things that were really interesting and exciting ten years ago have completely morphed” says Chen. “It used to be that, you know, you had hundreds of teams that were working on a new photo sharing app or a new messaging app or whatever. All of those ideas have now been very much tried.”