US venture firm Andreessen Horowitz has raised US$650 million with an eye on opportunities coming out of the smartphone market.“Feature phones are going away. We think we’re heading into a world where there will be 4 billion smartphones,” said partner Marc Andreessen, interviewed in the Financial Times. He said the markets around both Android and Apple interested the firm. Aside from smartphones, the firm would also look at investing in consumer electronics companies as they move more towards the software business. In both cases, the focus is the US market.
Andreessen Horowitz is not the first technology venture firm to target the smartphone market. The well-known Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers established its US$100 million iFund to invest in companies creating apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch in 2008. Earlier this year it doubled the size of the fund to US$200 million. Mobile operators and vendors often have their own venture arms although they are not usually focused solely on a single area such as smartphones. Marc Andreessen is famous for co-founding web browser firm Netscape in the 1990s. Last year he co-founded Andreessen Horowitz with an initial fund of US$300 million.