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Wildfire exec Tom Rikert joining Andreessen Horowitz

Rikert will be part of the deal and research team, and will focus on enterprise companies

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 18, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2c6f

(Updated to reflect comment from Tom Rikert)

Andreessen Horowitz has hired Tom Rikert, a former executive from social media marketing company Wildfire.

Rikert’s LinkedIn profile has been updated, and he is now listed as “Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.” The investment firm also confirmed Rikert's new role.

Though Rikert will become a partner, he will not be investing, but rather he will be a part of the deal and research team, specifically focusing on enterprise companies.

Rikert is coming over from Google, which had purchased Wildfire, the company where he served as director of product management, in July for $350 million. Google integrated the Wildfire tools into its growing display advertising catalog that already included DoubleClick and Google’s AdX exchange.

Rikert also worked as a product manager for Google from 2006 to 2009, where he worked on YouTube and AdWords.

"I'm truly excited to join the Andreessen Horowitz team.  Their approach to serving entrepreneurs has always stood out to me.  They have  a deep bench of experienced operators, and a whole host of in-house services to help founders and their companies succeed and change the world," Rikert told VatorNews.

"I feel fortunate to have been part of several innovative companies, from YouTube to Wildfire, and learned what goes into fueling a high-growth opportunity. Joining Andreessen Horowitz was a unique opportunity for me to apply these perspectives to help many entrepreneurs who are running hard to build their companies, and bring to bear the resources of a firm that I believe is innovating on the traditional venture model.  I'm looking forward to engaging with companies in the enterprise and business apps space in my new role."

Redwood City, California-based Wildfire was founded in 2008. The company specializes in social promotion, advertising software, mobile and desktop page management, and real time analytics. Wildfire’s software allows marketers and managers to create social campaigns and pages, communicate with their social audience and measure social media performance.

At the time of its purchase by Google, the social media marketing company had around 350 employees, and more than 16,000 clients, including Spotify, Virgin, Unilever, Sony, Target and Amazon.com with its ad services and assistance with non-paid marketing on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Wildfire had received $14.1 million in funding from investors, including Summit Partners Jeff Clavier, Gary Vaynerchuk, 500 Startups, Felicis Ventures. It is the only company of its kind to have received an investment from Facebook’s fbFund.

Menlo Park, California-based Andreessen Horowitz was formed in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.. Despites it young age, it is already a top VC firm, raking in siginificant management fees. It secured a $1.5 billion fund in January, announcing it had raised $2.7 billion in three years.

And, while the company doesn't publicly report its returns, it's already had a significant exit in Instagram. Andreessen Horowitz initially invested $250,000 in Instagram, eventually making $78 million off the investment, a 312-times return.

The firm is also invested in some notable winners. It invested $27 million in Pinterest, led a $112 million round for Airbnb, invested $80 million in Twitter, was involved in a $180 million round for Zynga and led a $40 million round for Fab.com.

Andreessen Horowitz has also invested in companies in the seed-stages, including Box.net, Digg and BlueStacks.

The firm was also involved with a consortium made up of Silver Lake, Joltid Limited and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, who, together, purchased Skype from eBay for $2 billion in 2009. In May 2011, they sold Skype to Microsoft for $8.5 billion.

Andreessen Horowitz hired two other partners recently: former Twitter employee Elizabeth Weil joined as a partner in October, and eBay Chris Dixon joined the firm in November. Tristan Walker, who formerly worked at Foursquare, was hired as an Entrepreneur in Residence in May.

(Image source: http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com)


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