Andreessen Horowitz has been on a crypto-themed hiring spree, and it has landed some very big names.
The renowned Silicon Valley venture capital investment firm made headlines this week when it launched an eye-popping new cryptocurrency venture fund. But baked into the media announcement was a flurry of news hires by the firm to bolster its efforts in the crypto market.
Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, revealed five new hires meant to help the firm offer potential portfolio companies "unrivaled regulatory capabilities alongside our crypto-native data science and research services."
Here is a brief rundown of the new faces, what they'll be doing at the VC firm, and what they did before joining a16z.
- Bill Hinman: Hinman, a former director of the division of corporation finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission, is best known in the cryptocurrency market for declaring that ether transactions are not "securities transactions" during a speech in 2018. Hinman — who was the first official from the agency to make such a declaration — left the agency at the end of 2020 after a more than three-year tenure. Prior to his work with the Commission, Hinman was a partner at Simpson Thacher & Barlett LLP, where he advised clients on capital raises and other transactions, according to a profile. Hinman has joined a16z crypto as an adviser to "provide valuable legal and regulatory insights to us and our portfolio companies as well as play a key role in shaping the future regulatory environment in which we and they operate." It makes sense that a16z is looking to beef up its regulatory chops, as the crypto market is known for its regulatory ambiguity.
- Tomicah Tillemann: Tillemann, a former adviser to President Joe Biden, is joining a16z as its global head of policy. He previously served as Hillary Clinton's speechwriter while she was Secretary of State. In a tweet thread, Tilleman said that as digital technologies become more commonplace, "forging the right relationships between policy and technology" will be imperative. "I'm also excited to continue collaboration with an incredible community of friends and partners across government, civil society, and the private sector as we design policies to unlock the vast potential that surrounds the next generation of the internet," he added.
- Brent McIntosh: McIntosh, who recently served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, is joining as an advisor to the firm alongside Hinman. The addition of someone from the Treasury should come as no surprise given the agency's activity in the nascent digital coin market. In December, the US Treasury under Steven Mnuchin proposed a strict new transaction reporting rule for money services businesses that deal with crypto. Having someone with knowledge of the ins and outs of the department could be beneficial for a16z influence in the policy discussion. It's worth noting that current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is somewhat of a bitcoin skeptic.
- Rachael Horwitz: Horowitz is a veteran communicator in Silicon Valley. She has joined a16z crypto as an operating partner charged with leading marketing and communications. Horowitz previously held marketing and communication roles at Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Coinbase. As Coinbase's first VP of communications, she managed the exchange's brand during a period of rapid growth for the firm. This experience might be attractive to potential portfolio companies.
- Alex Price: Price — who co-founded Qu Capital — is joining as an advisor. Qu, a trading firm, was sold to Digital Currency Group’s Genesis Capital in 2019. "Alex directly invested in and advised a number of the technology ventures that have become foundational to the DeFi, NFT, and crypto-social ecosystems," according to a16z.
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