VC firm raises $650M, eyes smartphone investments

U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz raised a new $650 million fund, and one of the firm's founders, Marc Andreessen, said it will partially be geared toward investing in the white-hot smartphone market.

Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape, entered the VC business 15 months ago with an initial fund of $300 million. The firm burned through that first fund faster than expected, which included a $50 million investment in Skype.

Now, however, Andreessen Horowitz is turning its attention to U.S. computing, software and networking, with a particular interest in the ecosystems around Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's Android platforms. Andreessen also said the fund will focus on consumer electronics companies.

"Feature phones are going away," Andreessen told the Financial Times. "We think we're heading into a world where there will be 4 billion smartphones."

It's not a bad bet: According to research firm Strategy Analytics, there were 77.1 million smartphone shipments worldwide in the third quarter--a whopping 78 percent increase from the year-ago quarter.

For more:
- see this Financial Times article
- see this Reuters article

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