My name is John O’Farrell, and I’m a Partner, along with Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, Jeff Jordan, Peter Levine and Scott Weiss, at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz based in Menlo Park, California.
Over the last fifteen years, I’ve been fortunate to play a key role at three high-growth startups that have grown to substantial scale and had a significant impact on the world in different ways. Over a thirty-year career, I’ve also worked in, and partnered with, some very large corporations and have a good understanding of how big companies work. I get to draw on that operating experience every day in my new role as a VC.
From 1997 to 2001, I founded and ran the international business for @Home Network, a company co-founded by Kleiner Perkins’s John Doerr and the largest US cable companies, that pioneered the broadband Internet we take for granted today. My international division grew to $70M in revenue, 280,000 broadband customers and 500 employees in 10 countries. As for @Home, it took off almost vertically and flew high before being laid low by a disastrous merger with Excite, poorly-managed Wall Street expectations and a byzantine corporate ownership structure. I’m proud to say most of the international operations we built survive to this day, albeit with different brand names and shareholders. Lots of lessons learned (and material for future blog posts!) from those four years!
Next up was Loudcloud, the original cloud computing company, where I joined my now-partners Marc and Ben right after a spectacularly difficult IPO in 2001. In his blog, Ben has written about the exciting times we went through together: Downsizing and restructuring in a brutal recession; managing to sell all of our revenue, all of our liabilities, and 140 employees to EDS; restarting as Opsware, a data center software company with a massive software license from EDS; acquiring four companies, partnering with Cisco, NTT, NEC and HP, and building an exceptional product and sales organization to create a $100M+/year enterprise software business; and finally negotiating a sale to HP in 2007 for $1.6 billion, in a great outcome for the shareholders, customers and employees who stuck with us. Over six-and–a half years, I got the chance to participate in all of these extraordinary events first-hand, and to lead all of our major partnerships and M&A transactions personally.
After Opsware and prior to Andreessen Horowitz, I spent about two years at another large high-growth startup that’s applying the latest communications and information technology to transform the world’s electricity grid. At Silver Spring Networks, my team and I led the initiative to take the company global, from developing the initial cross-company strategy to a detailed multi-year operational plan and initial projects in Latin America, Europe and Asia. I can attest that working with electric utilities and partners like GE and ABB is the ultimate in complex enterprise sales!
I’m originally from Dublin, Ireland and have lived in Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg and the United States. I’ve traveled extensively for business and leisure in Brazil, Europe and Asia. I speak Portuguese, German and French. Although I carry American and EU passports, I consider myself a citizen of the world.
You can see my LinkedIn profile here.