A Q&A With New Andreessen Horowitz Partner Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon

Top Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has hired Chris Dixon to be its seventh investing partner.

Dixon has been one of New York’s highest profile startup investors for the past few years. He’ll be moving to California for the job.

We just got 10 minutes on the phone with him.

Here’s a lightly edited transcript:

Business Insider: Along with Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures, you’ve become a major voice for the New York startup scene. How dare you leave!

Chris Dixon: It’s a little bit overstated. I’m keeping my apartment in New York. Andreessen Horowitz believes, and I agree with them, that if you’re working with partners you need to see them a lot. That said, investments can be anywhere. In my ideal world, I would love to the bulk of my investments in New York. I believe this will be a net positive for New York. I think this is the best VC firm and now it’s going to be more active there.

BI: Reports say your focus will be on consumer-facing startups. True?

Dixon: They’re totally happy with me doing enterprise as well. I like enterprise. At this firm, enterprise can mean hardcore storage array stuff. I’m not into that. But SAAS-based apps, that stuff I like, and I would do. It’s a nomenclature thing.  

BI: You’re a big name startup investor, and lots of firms would love to plug into your network. Why’d you go with Andreessen Horowitz?

Dixon: A lot of firms, you’ll have 10 investing partners and they’ll try to help out with each other some. Here there 7 investors and 55 partner-level people doing recruiting, marketing, and other services for entrepreneurs. It’s just on a different scale than anything else I’ve ever seen. Entrepreneurs are getting the capital and services; of course that’s better.

BI: So, what’s the story of how you ended up at Andreessen Horowitz?

Dixon: I knew them from angel investing. We’re in Foursquare together and a couple other startups. We sort of knew each other form the scene. A few months ago we started talking in earnest, and I’ve been out here a lot – many weeks at a time kind of thing. I sat on many pitches, got to know the key people. It’s a real process. This is not something done lightly on either side. We hit it off. 

BI: Getting to know Andreessen Horowitz, what surprised you about the firm the most?

Dixon:  I’m known as somebody who can be aggressive – a vocal critic of the establishment VC model. I was impressed and a little bit surprised that they were very happy with that.