The Business On... Marc Andreessen, founder, Andreessen Horowitz

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The Independent Online

You mean 'the visionary Marc Andreessen', of course?

That's the man. The software engineer who proselytised the possibilities of the web browser, created Netscape alongside Jim Clark, and became one of the first (and youngest) entrepreneurs to make a fortune out of the internet.

And for his second fortune?

Andreessen Horowitz is a venture capital firm which, thanks to its big name founder, seems to be getting access to the hottest pre-flotation investment deals.

So what zippy start-up has he alighted on now?

Ah, well this is a bit embarrassing. He seems to think Yahoo is the next big thing.

Huh? Yahoo?

Yes, his firm is in a consortium of bidders for a minority stake in the troubled internet company. Yahoo's shareholders had rather been hoping to get a takeover bid, or have the company broken up, but no one really seems to love its fading mix of websites, email services and advertising businesses. A sub-20 per cent stake is all it can sell.

But Mr Andreessenis excited?

Yes. In fact, he is even considering running the thing if his consortium wins, according to Silicon Valley rumour.

And is that a good idea?

It will certainly be a departure from visionary. The mucky business of trying to make Yahoo grow again has drowned several bosses before him. Surely he is too cautious...