by Jen Wieczner
FORTUNE— Even by venture capitalist standards, Ben Horowitz had a busy week. The founding partner of Andreessen Horowitz released his first book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, on Tuesday. A day earlier he'd gone public with the lesser known, artistic side of himself, posting an archival mixtape from his college rap group, known as the Blind-Def Crew, exclusively on RapGenius.com, a lyrics annotation site in which Horowitz invested $15 million. Oh, yeah—and his face was also on newsstands around the world on the cover of Fortune magazine.
At a party feting the book on Thursday hosted by Norman Pearlstine, chief content officer of Time Inc., Fortune's publisher, Horowitz was still autographing copies even as he tried to walk out the door. "Uh, yeah, this is way more attention than I'm used to getting," said Horowitz, wearing shiny sneakers and a Jawbone activity-tracking bracelet, made by another company he funded.
Still, this weekend might take his career to new heights. If some of Horowitz's associates' predictions come true, the VC may have a surprise in store when he takes the stage at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas on Sunday: "He might actually be rapping at SXSW," Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam said at the book party.
Nas, the famous rapper, is scheduled to interview Horowitz, a friend, at SXSW on March 9. "Ben schools me about hip-hop," Nas admitted in the Fortune profile. The combination of the two, Moghadam hinted to Fortune, just might lead to a surprise performance. "I hope he does," he said. "I really hope he does. I think he should rap." When Pearlstine asked Horowitz during an interview at the book party if he would rap for the audience, however, Horowitz declined.
Plenty of entrepreneurs launch new products at the giant 10-day conference, which started Friday, and more than 1,000 musicians will perform during SXSW's latter festival portion this year. But a VC rapping through the tech-focused panel discussions might be, as the startup community likes to say, disruptive.
If anyone could pull it off, it would be Horowitz, who was known for his rap-spiced business lessons (which form the basis of his book) on his blog and in Silicon Valley even before he revealed his hip-hop alter-ego, Tic Toc, this week. Horowitz chose to tell the full origin story of his rap career, however, not in his book but in a personal post on his own site and on Rap Genius. In it, he emotionally describes learning in college that his close family friend, Seth Clark (whom he calls his "brother"), had been shot in the face, leaving him unable to see. Clark became "The Blind MC," the inspiration and lead voice in their rap group.
Horowitz has also assigned rapper names to his business partners, including Marc Andreessen. "He calls Marc 'Big Tunechi,'" a play on the Twitter handle of rapper Lil Wayne, which is @LilTunechi, Moghadam said.
To be sure, entrepreneurs are grateful just for Horowitz's venture funding and startup expertise, let alone his rhyming prowess.
"I almost feel like we acquired them, rather than them investing in us," Georg Petschnigg, CEO of FiftyThree, which makes an iPad drawing app called Paper, said at the book party.
But who wouldn't want to see Horowitz, a.k.a. Tic Toc, show off his skills outside of the board room? If anything, a SXSW rap stunt would be great publicity for his book, all sales of which benefit American Jewish World Service, an organization that helps struggling women.
"As far as I know, Ben has no plans to rap onstage," a spokesperson for Horowitz said, minutes after landing in Austin. Still, we can dream.
Zenefits has raised $15 million to help automate HR for small and mid-sized businesses. Andreessen Horowitz's Lars Dalgaard explains why.
FORTUNE -- Lars Dalgaard knows cloud-based enterprise software, having founded and run SuccessFactors until it was sold for $3.6 billion to SAP (SAP) in late 2011. Now he's delving back into the space in his new role as a general partner with venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
The firm has led a $15 million investment MOREDan Primack - Jan 22, 2014 12:54 PM ET
Andreessen Horowitz is raising its fourth fund in six years.
FORTUNE -- Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is in the process of raising around $1.5 billion for its fourth fund, Fortune has learned.
This would be very similar in structure to the $1.5 billion fund raised by Andreessen Horowitz in early 2012, which included a $900 million fund for early-stage investments and a $600 million "parallel fund" for larger opportunities. It is MOREDan Primack - Jan 17, 2014 3:49 PM ET
Bitcoins acquire another influential backer.Stephen Gandel, senior editor - Dec 12, 2013 6:55 AM ET
The stock market has gotten too efficient for small caps to thrive, and it's costing America jobs. But there is a solution.
By Scott Kupor
FORTUNE -- As Americans, we love efficiency. In huge numbers, and with our wallets wide open, we rush toward anything that drives lower cost, highly liquid markets. Think about it. McDonald's, Amazon and Costco dominate their industries with some combination of huge choice, overall lower prices MORENov 11, 2013 1:51 PM ET
Head of Andreessen Horowitz's seed program sets out on his own.
FORTUNE -- Ronny Conway is stepping down as a partner with venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Fortune has learned. He is expected to begin raising his own venture capital fund, focused on early-stage tech investments.
Conway is the son of legendary Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway, and was the first outside employee hired by Andreessen Horowitz after raising its inaugural MOREDan Primack - Sep 26, 2013 4:00 PM ET
Larry Summers is a special advisor to Andreessen Horowitz. So how did it fare today?
FORTUNE -- There has been lots of talk today about the Summers Rally, with the stock markets spiking on word that former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has removed himself from consideration to be the next Federal Reserve chairman.
Things have cooled off a bit this afternoon, but the Dow still ended up 118 points.
So I was MOREDan Primack - Sep 16, 2013 4:12 PM ET
Car-sharing expands to the enteprise.
FORTUNE -- Clément Gires believes the company car model is broken, and he's hoping that former Microsoft Windows boss Steven Sinofsky can help him fix it.
Gires is co-founder of Local Motion, a Silicon Valley startup that was originally formed to develop shared electric cars (i.e., ones sold to places rather than to people). When the team began to realize how long it would take to manufacture their vehicles MOREDan Primack - Aug 28, 2013 12:36 PM ET
What startups should do if the environment is worse than expected
By Ben Horowitz
"Hope that you feel this Feel this way forever You can plan a pretty picnic But you can't predict the weather."
--Outkast, Ms. Jackson
FORTUNE -- If you run a startup and are currently raising money, you probably planned for a somewhat different fundraising environment than the one you find yourself in today. You probably thought that valuations would be roughly MOREJul 15, 2013 2:29 PM ET
FORTUNE -- Ride-sharing service Lyft today is announcing $60 million in new venture capital funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. So I spent some time on the phone with Andreessen Horowitz partner Scott Weiss to learn why the firm is putting so much money into a company that faces so many challenges.
What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation:
FORTUNE: There is a lot of money going into this general space MOREDan Primack - May 23, 2013 12:02 PM ET
|The Deep Web you don't know about|
|AT&T cuts prices again|
|Pizza chain Sbarro files for bankruptcy|
|"True Detective" season finale crashes HBO Go site|
|Once bankrupt, Vallejo still can't afford its pricey pensions|