Marc Andreessen | Cofounder of Mosaic and Netscape
Marc Lowell Andreessen is an American Computer Engineer who is an entrepreneur and an Investor as well. Best known as the co-author of Mosaic which is the first widely used web browser and as the cofounder of Netscape. He is also the cofounder and general of Andreessen Horowitz which is a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.
Education and Early Life of Marc Andreessen
Andreessen was born in Cedar falls, Iowa and brought up in New Lisbon, Wilsconcin. He did his graduation in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He did his internship for one summer at IBM in Texas. He had learnt programming in BASIC language at an early age of nine by reading a library book. By the time he got into high school, he had explored all the things he could do with his TRS-80.
Birth of Mosaic
During his work in National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, he came to know about how Tim Berners-Lee’s open standards for the World Wide Web have made a revolution in the world of computing.
He then recruited programmers and formed a team to create a better way in which Web could be explored. After two months of hard work, this team created a graphical web browser called Mosaic. Mosaic used mouse clicks and pictures to navigate through information. Mosaic web browser was given away free of cost and soon millions of people started using it.
The success of Mosaic drew James Clark’s (founder of Silicon Graphics Inc.) attention towards Andreessen. Clark suggested Andreessen to start an Internet Software company and hence Mosaic Communications Corporation was formed, Andreessen being the founder and Vice President of technology. The name of the company had to be changed to Netscape Communications Corporation after the use of “Mosaic” was objected upon by the University of Illinois. The web browser was then names as Netscape Navigator.
The success of Netscape made Microsoft get into competition by recognizing the potential of the web. Microsoft got the license for Mosaic’s source code from Spyglass Inc. and converted it into Internet Explorer. This led to a battle between the two companies which is known as “Browser Wars”.
Interactive Week Magazine featured Marc Andreessenon its cover page in 1997.
After AOL purchased Netscape in 1999 for $4.2 billion, Andreessen accepted to work at AOL as the chief technology officer. In 1999 itself, Andreessen got named as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35 at the MIT Technology Review TR100.
Formation of LoudCloud
By joining hands with Ben Horowitz, Tim Howes, and In Sik Rhee, Andreessen formed LoudCloud after leaving job at AOL. LoudCloud that provided high-performance computing and services to Internet and e-commerce companies. It made an IPO in 2001. The web hosting business of LoudCloud was sold to EDS and got its name changed as Opsware in the year 2003, which was later purchased by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in the year 2007.
Andreessen and Ben Horowitz became well known by the name of “super angel investors”. This title had come after having invested about $4 million in about 45 start-ups including Twitter and Qik. On July 2006, both of them announced the formation of their Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz which invested in entrepreneurs, products and companies in the IT industry.
The firm grew to $2.7 billion from $300 million within a span of three years. The portfolio holdings of the firm include Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, GitHub and Pinterest. After investing $80-million in Twitter, Andreessen Horowitz became the first firm to be holding ofstock of all four highest-valued, privately held social-media companies (t that time): Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, and Zynga.