Tech billionaire Marc Andreessen is tipped to follow PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel in leaving Meta’s board of directors after investing billions in rival web3 projects.
Business Insider relayed sentiment of sources close to the company who say Andreessen’s tenure could be under threat due to the work of his venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Andreessen is currently the longest-serving Meta (formerly Facebook) board member, having been appointed in 2008.
Over the past year, a16z has plowed a fortune into virtually every kind of web3 project, including Bored Apes’ Yuga Labs, Sam Altman’s dystopian Worldcoin, and “climate neutral” blockchain project NEAR Protocol.
A16z finished raising $2.2 billion for its third crypto fund last July and plans to amass $4.5 billion for its next vehicle expected to debut in the next few months. If it succeeds, it would be the biggest crypto venture fund to date.
Meta has plans for its own web3 projects and Andreessen’s continued investment in potential competitors is supposedly not a good look.
The Zuckerberg-led tech giant announced last month that Thiel would give up his place on the company’s board later this year to “devote his time to other interests.”
As Business Insider noted, Thiel’s time at Meta was marked by a number of controversies, including his vocal support for former US President Donald Trump.
He also raised eyebrows with his suggestion that Meta should carry on with its policy of not fact-checking ads from politicians in 2019.
Meta’s nine-member board is up for re-election in May.
Meta braindrains to a16z startups
Conflicts of interest between companies and their board members’ other projects aren’t uncommon. But according to cited sources, Andreessen’s other investments are becoming thorns in Meta’s side.
Last October, two of Facebook’s top tech brains jumped ship to Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto team.
In December, the company led a $36 million funding round in support of Mysten Labs, a blockchain infrastructure startup founded by four former Facebook engineers.
Andreessen Horowitz insiders have even thrown shade at Meta for its metaverse and web3 ambitions. Speaking this week after a16z led a $450-million funding round in Yuga Labs, a16z’s crypto head Chris Dixon told The Verge:
“To me, Yuga Labs, combined with these other emerging web3 companies, are an important counterweight to companies like Meta.”
“There’s a dystopian future where Meta is this kind of dominant digital experience provider, and all of the money and control goes to that company,” added Dixon.
For the record, a16z says there’s nothing in the rumors of Andreessen leaving Meta, telling Business Insider: “If he were to step down, he doesn’t know about it. So no, it’s not happening. At least not now.”
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