Venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz has tapped Katie Haun as its first female general partner. In her new role, Haun will be a leader of the firm’s newly formed $300 million cryptocurrency fund.
With Haun’s appointment, announced Monday, Andreessen Horowitz becomes the latest venture capital firm to add more female talent as the industry faces backlash for its largely male demographics. While venture funding still goes to mostly male founders, the Valley has been adding more women to the ranks of those making the investing decisions. Earlier this year, Bain Ventures added its first female partner, and Greylock added its second after its first left the firm.
Haun is a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. “When I was in the government, although my background was a prosecutor, I had more and more interaction with the startup community since I was based in Silicon Valley,” she said. “I’ve done a number of investments over the years, not just in crypto, but across industries.”
Haun currently sits on the boards of Coinbase Inc. and HackerOne Inc. Prior to that, she worked with the Justice Department for 10 years, launching the first cryptocurrency task force and leading the Mt. Gox investigation.
Given the volatile nature and uncertain future of crypto, Andreessen Horowitz says it has structured the new crypto fund so that it can hold investments for 10 years or more. It also said that the fund will be able to invest in companies at any stage and in any country, and that its activities could range from a blockchain-related investment to initial coin offerings. The firm had already invested roughly $100 million in crypto in its last fund, and had started to run into limitations on how much more it could invest, it says.
“We’re excited to have a fund focused on this, with the flexibility to let us make the investments we want to make,” said Chris Dixon, a general partner at the firm who will be leading the fund with Haun. “The inflow of entrepreneurs has dramatically increased over the past year,” he said, adding that he’s frequently meeting with people who are leaving jobs at Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc., and other tech giants to enter the crypto community.