Andreessen Horowitz, one of venture capital’s largest and most visible players, announced last month that its “headquarters will be in the cloud” in the future.
The firm, also known as a16z, was founded in 2009 in Menlo Park, California, and has long been a symbol of Silicon Valley investing.
Its new philosophy in this post-COVID era of remote work is that a centralized HQ is no longer required. This philosophy extends to the company’s fintech team.
I sat down (virtually) with General Partners Angela Strange and Anish Acharya to learn more about why the pair believes that more people working globally means huge opportunity for fintech companies. For clarity and brevity, the interview has been edited.
Question: Tell me what you think is the biggest change you’ve seen with regards to how companies are being built in this post-pandemic era.
Anish: If you were building a startup five,10 or certainly 15 years ago, most of the work in focus was very local, meaning you were what we call ‘default local.’ You’d have a group of people that would get together in a physical office and toil away to build a software product and sell it to customers that were probably in your country — maybe even in your neighborhood if you’re in Silicon Valley — but certainly in your country. And then over time, if the product and company was successful, you would slowly expand globally.
And the big trend that we saw that was already occurring — and COVID catalyzed a lot of it — is that companies increasingly want to be global on Day One. And software lends itself to this.
When Google launched, there was no reason you couldn’t use Google on launch day in India or any other country in which you could access the internet. But the problem of course, is that even though software is global, money is very much local.
This is really where a lot of our fintech thinking has come into things. The idea now is that the company of the future, and the company of the present, will be global on Day One and the opportunity (for fintech companies) is to build all the infrastructure for that company to be able to operate and sell globally on Day One.