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Ben Horowitz on Slack's Pivot and Why His Firm Doesn't Have a Woman Partner (Video)

He also explains what a "full-stack" startup is.

Andreessen Horowitz

Earlier this week at the Milken Institute’s annual global conference, I interviewed Ben Horowitz, who is the co-founder of high-profile Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Unlike a lot of powerful people in Silicon Valley — and much to my surprise — Horowitz gave an unusually honest answer to why his firm is not actively trying to hire a woman general partner, noting that it had “no quotas, goals [or] mandates.” The issue of the small percentage of women at VC firms has been in the spotlight of late, due to the recent trial between Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and former partner Ellen Pao.

Pao lost her gender discrimination case, but the hot-button topic now is why most major firms have few or no women general partners.

Said Horowitz: “I know the firm would get 1,000 times more credit if we had one woman general partner rather than if I had 53 percent of the firm being women. But that’s the least impactful thing I could do, because no one in the firm reports to a general partner.”

He added: “It would be great if we could attract a great person to that position, but why should that be a goal? It’s not going to actually change Silicon Valley.”

He also talked about Slack, the enterprise collaboration software that has been a huge hit investment for Andreessen Horowitz with a current $2.8 billion valuation. But it didn’t start out that way, which Horowitz noted was a pivot (from a game company) that actually worked.

Here’s the full video of the interview, which also includes discussion of the tech bubble, IPOs and the rise of what Horowitz calls the “full-stack” startup:

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