|Marc L. Andreessen|
Andreessen at the Tech Crunch40 conference, in 2007.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
|Alma mater||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Known for||Mosaic, founder of Netscape|
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. 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. Andreessen is a frequent keynote speaker and guest at Silicon Valley conferences.
Andreessen (pronounced ann-DREES-sen) was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin. 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.
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 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 and other publications, 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.
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.
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. He serves on the board of Facebook, 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 technology industry.He is currently working on a new web browser, RockMelt. On September 1st, 2009, an investor group including Andreessen Horowitz acquired a majority stake in Skype.