Marc Andreessen

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Template:Infobox scientist Marc Andreessen (born July 9, 1971) is an American entrepreneur, investor, startup coach, blogger, and a multi-millionaire software engineer best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and founder of Netscape Communications Corporation.[1] He was the chair of Opsware, a software company he founded originally as Loudcloud, when it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. He is also a co-founder of Ning, a company which provides a platform for social-networking websites. As of June 30, 2008, he is said to be joining the Board of Directors of Facebook. On September 30, 2008, it was announced that he had joined the Board of Directors of eBay, and September 17, 2009 it was announced he had been named to the board of HP.[2] Andreessen is a frequent keynote speaker and guest at Silicon Valley conferences.


Early life and education

Andreessen (pronounced ann-DREES-sen) was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin.[3] He received his Bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an undergraduate, he interned one summer at IBM in Austin, Texas, United States. He also worked at the university's National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), where he became familiar with Tim Berners-Lee's open standards for the World Wide Web. Andreessen and a full-time salaried co-worker Eric Bina worked on creating a user-friendly browser with integrated graphics that would work on a wide range of computers. The resulting code was the Mosaic web browser.


File:Mosaic browser plaque ncsa.jpg
Plaque commemorating the creation of Mosaic web browser by Bina and Andreessen, new NCSA building, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

After his graduation from the university in 1993, Andreessen moved to California to work at Enterprise Integration Technologies. Andreessen then met with Jim Clark, the recently-departed founder of Silicon Graphics. Clark believed that the Mosaic browser had great commercial possibilities and suggested starting an Internet software company. Soon Mosaic Communications Corporation was in business in Mountain View, California, with Andreessen as cofounder and vice president of technology. The University of Illinois was unhappy with the company's use of the Mosaic name, so Mosaic Communications changed its name to Netscape Communications, and its flagship web browser was the Netscape Navigator.

In the year between the formation of the company and its IPO, Andreessen engaged in extensive public outreach on behalf of his vision of the web browser's potential, something he had in fact done continuously since making the decision to distribute Mosaic for free via the Internet.

One of these events, hosted by Internet commercialization pioneer Ken McCarthy, was captured on video[4] and provides a unique look at the state of the web between the time Andreessen and his colleagues launched Mosaic and the time when web browsers and servers became mainstream commercial products. At the time of the recording, Andreessen was 23 years old.

Netscape's IPO in 1995 propelled Andreessen into the public's imagination. Featured on the cover of Time[5][6] and other publications,[7] Andreessen became the poster-boy wunderkind of the Internet bubble generation: young, twenty-something, high-tech, ambitious, and worth millions (or billions) of dollars practically overnight.

Netscape's success attracted the attention of Microsoft, which recognized the web's potential and wanted to put itself at the forefront of the rising Internet revolution. Microsoft licensed the Mosaic source code from Spyglass, Inc., an offshoot of the University of Illinois, and turned it into Internet Explorer. The resulting battle between the two companies became known as the Browser Wars.

Netscape was acquired in 1999 for $4.2 billion by AOL, which made Andreessen its Chief Technology Officer.


However, he would soon leave to form Loudcloud, a services-based Web hosting company that made an IPO in 2001. Loudcloud sold its hosting business to EDS and changed its name to Opsware in 2003, where Andreessen served as chairman. Opsware was purchased by Hewlett-Packard in September 2007 for approximately $1.6 billion.

Current ventures

Andreessen is an investor in social news website Digg and several other early-stage technology startups, like Plazes, Netvibes and Twitter. His latest project is Ning, which launched in October 2004.[8] He serves on the board of Facebook,[1] eBay, and Open Media Network, a combined Kontiki (VeriSign) client and media player, launched in 2005. Andreessen is now active in the blogging community. On July 5, 2009, Andreessen announced (along with his longtime business partner Ben Horowitz, the formation of their venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, aimed purely at investing in the best new entrepreneurs, products, and companies in the information technology industry.[9]He is currently working on a new web browser, RockMelt.[10] On September 1st, 2009, an investor group including Andreessen Horowitz acquired a majority stake in Skype.[11]

Personal life

Andreessen married Laura Arrillaga in 2006.[12] She is the founder of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund,[13] and the daughter of Silicon Valley real estate billionaire John Arrillaga.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dan Frommer. "Marc Andreessen Joins Facebook Board". Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  2. [1]
  3. Simone Payment, Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark: The Founders of Netscape, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2006, p. 15. ISBN 9781404207196.
  4. The First Internet Marketing Conference, San Francisco, 1994. February 22, 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  5. "Netscape's Marc Andreessen". Time magazine. 1996-02-19.,16641,1101960219,00.html. 
  6. "At just 24, he appeared--barefoot and wearing a crown--on the cover of Time." Steve Hamm (1998-04-13). "The Education of Marc Andreessen". Businessweek. 
  7. Alan Levenson (photo credit) (1998-04-13). "04/13/19 Cover Story". Businessweek. 
  8. "Ning: About: Our Company". Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  9. "Introducing our new venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz". 2009-07-05. 
  10. "Mosaic Developer, Netscape Founder Working on New Browser". 2009-08-14. 
  11. "eBay Inc. Signs Definitive Agreement to Sell Skype in Deal Valuing Communications Business at $2.75 Billion". Business Wire. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  12. Michelle Quinn, "Andreessen Casts a Wide Net", Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2007, Business section.
  13. "Laura Arrillaga". Retrieved 2008-10-05. 

External links

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