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Originally published January 31, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Page modified January 31, 2012 at 10:08 PM

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Andreessen's VC firm raises $1.5B to invest in tech startups

Andreessen, 40, got rich as one of the Internet industry's first big stars during the 1990s. He helped change the way people used the Internet as part of a team that developed a graphical Web browser called Mosaic in the early 1990s.

The Associated Press

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SAN FRANCISCO — Silicon Valley entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and his partners have raised an additional $1.5 billion to invest in technology startups as they prepare to profit from a previous bet on Facebook.

The fundraising announced Tuesday serves as further validation of the success Andreessen has enjoyed since starting his venture-capital firm in mid-2009. Menlo Park, Calif.-based Andreessen Horowitz has invested in about 90 companies since then.

The portfolio includes an unspecified stake in Menlo Park neighbor Facebook, which is expected to file its plans for a long-awaited initial public offering of stock as early as Wednesday.

Those IPO documents may divulge the holdings of Andreessen Horowitz, if it is among Facebook's biggest stockholders.

Before co-founding his venture-capital firm, Andreessen personally invested in Facebook and joined the board in 2008.

Andreessen, 40, got rich as one of the Internet industry's first big stars during the 1990s. He helped change the way people used the Internet as part of a team that developed a graphical Web browser called Mosaic in the early 1990s.

He went on to co-found Netscape Communications before he had turned 25. After losing its early lead in the Web browser market to Microsoft in a bruising battle, Netscape was sold to AOL for $10 billion in 1999.

With the latest infusion, Andreessen Horowitz has raised $2.7 billion since the firm's inception. The firm's other partners include Andreessen's longtime business partner, Ben Horowitz, and Jeff Jordan, former CEO of online restaurant-reservation service OpenTable.

"We are single-mindedly focused on partnering with the best innovators pursuing the biggest markets," Andreessen said in a statement.

Facebook, which started in 2004 in CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room, is expected to seek an IPO price that would value the company at $75 billion to $100 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Andreessen Horowitz also was among the early investors in Zynga, a maker of "FarmVille," "Words With Friends" and other games frequently played on Facebook's social network.

Zynga's stock has received a lukewarm response since its Wall Street debut in December. Zynga's stock gained 10 cents to close at $10.49 on Tuesday, slightly above its IPO price of $10.

Although Andreessen Horowitz focuses on startups, it has explored investing in older companies, too. Last year, it was one of several firms studying buying a nearly 20 percent stake in slumping Internet company Yahoo. There was even speculation Andreessen might join Yahoo as an executive, an idea he disputed on his personal blog in December.

Yahoo has since hired former PayPal executive Scott Thompson as its fourth CEO in less than five years.

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