, , ,

Andreessen Horowitz: Investing in, and nurturing, great capabilities for the enterprise

Andreessen Horowitz has a model I have not seen at any other Venture Capital firm, and that model is paying off for a broad ecosystem of companies, investors and enterprise IT professionals. From the standpoint of an enterprise technologist, the payoff will come by their support of firms fielding capabilities that will make a positive difference for organizations. The best way to learn about their spirit and approach is to review the blogs of their founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. But the best way to prepare yourself for coming distruption, in my opinion, is to dive right into the portfolio of firms they have invested in and are nurturing.

The following pulls text from the Andreessen Horowitz write-ups on some of the most interesting (from an enterprise CTO perspective) firms in their portfolio:

Data Management Virtualization

Actifio™ pioneered the industry’s first storage system optimized for managing copies of production data, eliminating redundant silos of IT infrastructure and data management applications. Actifio introduced virtualization into data management and has helped liberate IT organizations and services providers of all sizes from vendor lock-in and the management challenges associated with exploding data growth. Actifio is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. with offices around the world.

IT Cost Transparency Software

Apptio is a provider of on demand IT Cost Transparency solutions. Apptio’s IT Cost Transparency solutions are designed to provide greater visibility into the cost, utilization and operations of IT products and services so that businesses can identify ways to reduce IT costs, make better IT decisions and benefit from more proactive IT Demand Management. Capabilities include template driven IT cost modeling, interactive reporting and analytics, and business facing IT demand management.

Enterprise collaboration software

Asana builds enterprise-level collaboration software, or a Collaborative Information Manager. For their software, Asana is developing an in-house programming language called Lunascript for writing rich web applications more efficiently.

Operating at the Intersection of virtualization and security

Education Hardware

Kno aims to change education, the way people learn, and even change the world. Without being too pretentious about it, that’s our mission. So we’ve built what we believe is an amazing learning device—the textbook of the future—to accomplish that. But we didn’t drop everything. The textbook of the future embodies a lot of what we know and have always loved about the textbook of the past.Kno is a digital textbook—and we use the term loosely—that is about to change the way knowledge is transmitted and the way students learn. We started Kno from a tabula rasa—a blank slate—to create a new slate.

Flash storage

The increasing demand for a next-generation, solid-state storage technology is driven by advancements in computer processors which, following Moore’s Law, have grown exponentially in performance. Mechanical disks, on the other hand, follow Newtonian Dynamics and experience lackluster performance improvements, introducing a performance gap.

Ushering in a new era of application-centric, solid-state storage solutions for the enterprise, Fusion-io is revolutionizing the way database, application and system administrators architect their data centers. The company is closing the gap between processing power and storage needs by delivering breakthrough performance at a fraction of the cost of traditional disk-based storage systems. Now, the performance of an entire disk array can be placed inside a server. Fusion-io’s executive team has a long history of building companies that deliver game-changing and innovative technologies to the marketplace. Fusion-io was founded in 2006 by a team of experts with successful track records in the fields of transaction processing, high-performance networking, storage and superclusters, and computing and image processing.

Virtualization Software

Nicira Networks is accelerating the transformation to cloud infrastructure by delivering software that virtualizes the network. Based on the innovative Network Virtualization Platform (NVP)™ architecture, Nicira solutions provide unprecedented network flexibility and control for service provider and enterprise data centers, leading to dramatically improved scalability, service velocity and costs. The company was founded by networking research leaders from Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley, and is led by proven entrepreneurs in networking, virtualization and security.

On Demand Identity Management

Okta is the market leading on-demand identity and access management service that enables enterprises to accelerate the secure adoption of their web based applications, both in the cloud and behind the firewall. Okta delivers a complete solution addressing the needs of IT, end users, and business leaders; no customization required. With a catalog of pre-integrated applications and deep integration with Active Directory, Okta provides IT centralized user provisioning, access management, and reporting. Every end user gets a personalized, single sign-on home page for all of their applications, and business leaders get the insight they need to maximize ROI and track compliance.

Okta’s initial service is built on a secure, reliable and extensible on-demand platform that will serve as the foundation upon which a core set of services will be delivered to eliminate cloud adoption barriers and unlock the potential of the cloud for enterprises everywhere. The Okta team has built, deployed, and supported market leading, on-demand and enterprise software solutions from companies including Salesforce.com, SuccessFactors, PeopleSoft, Microsoft, Sun, and HP.

Cloud Computing Platform

PiCloud offers an on-demand cloud computing platform that is easy to use, highly elastic, and free of data lock-in. With PiCloud’s unique serverless architecture, developers can instantly leverage the compute power of public and private clouds without having to manage, maintain, or configure virtual servers for batch processing,high performance computing, and scientific computing applications.

Big data

Platfora is the first company to harness the potential of Hadoop so that any business user can explore, interact with, and derive insight from massive data sets, and all via an intuitive and dynamic interface.

Breakthrough data oriented search capability

Quantifind Inc. has developed a new paradigm for Business Intelligence solutions that lets you learn things from your data that you didn’t know to look for. Whether you are interested in uncovering leading indicators of breakthrough clinical cancer trials, strategizing for novel applications of fuel cell technologies or discovering predictive indicators of mortgage defaults, quantiFind analytics can help you see things in ways the competition hasn’t thought to.

The quantiFind engine automatically extracts data from unstructured content, contextualizes the data, and derives meaning from large scale data aggregation. This approach can discover which metrics the corpus itself thinks are important, and these learned metrics are unbiased by how the industry is used to thinking about the topic.


Hackers are no longer high school kids trying to one-up their friends or criminals trying to just break-in to sites. Instead, today’s sophisticated hacker is organized crime, strategically targeting websites, stealing billions of dollars from companies and their customers. Vendors providing web application security and intrusion prevention have forced hackers to become much more innovative in their means of attacking websites. These hackers now target the legitimate business logic of websites to perpetrate their fraud, including hijack threats, automated programs for password guessing, mass registration of accounts to game incentive programs, scraping customer data off of the website to perpetrate identity theft, and many others. Silver Tail is using the deep domain expertise of its team to provide software that combats business logic abuse in real-time.

These are all very interesting firms holding great potential for making significant positive improvements to enterprise IT. For that reason we will be adding them all to our growing directory of disruptive IT firms at CTOlabs.com and will be writing what we can about them here at CTOvision.com

Original post

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply