Business

‘Personal guardian angel’ to Ben Horowitz joins the firm as special advisor

Industry veteran Ken Coleman is joining elite venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz as a “special advisor.” Coleman has had a impressive career as the founder and former chairman of ITM Software. He also serves on the board of directors of City National Bank and has held executive positions at Hewlett-Packard, Activision, and Silicon Graphics, which is where he first met Ben Horowitz.

“We are the best in the business at providing mentorship and skills to founders and we put those founders in a world class network,” Horowitz said in an interview with VentureBeat. “Ken is a great turbo booster of those efforts. He was my mentor when he hired me into the tech industry as a twenty-year old, and has been teaching me about business, leadership, and management culture ever since. He helped create the model today for how you innovate for a large company.”

As a special advisor, Coleman joined former mayor of DC Adrian Fenty and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. In this role, he will provide entrepreneurs in Andreessen Horowitz’s elite portfolio with advice, partnerships, asking pertinent questions, making connections, providing insight, and sometimes, he said, just listening.

“Ben and I have been close for twenty-six years,” Coleman said on the call. “I’ve gotten to know more people since the firm got started and what its trying to do. I am very excited because I never contemplated working with a venture firm, but this is a different kind of venture firm. They are building companies that have had exits. I appreciate how important that is, and how difficult and challenging and time consuming. I’ve been a builder my whole career, and I am excited to be an enabler and help entrepreneurs build great companies.”

As Horowitz put it in his blog post, Coleman helped take him from “the outhouse to the penthouse,” going from washing dishes to working at a hot Silicon Valley tech company. Horowitz said he was not properly socialized for life in a big corporation at the time, and Coleman was his “personal guardian angel,” helping him find his way and build a successful career.

“This fits in very well with how we think about Andreessen Horowitz,” Horowitz said the blog post. “We help technical founders learn how to be CEOS, we help engineers find the right company and we help executives find the right match. So it’s natural, obvious and awesome that today we announce that Ken Coleman is joining Andreessen Horowitz as a Special Advisor.”


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