Andreessen’s Jeff Jordan On Valuations, IPOs And Young Founders

Jeff Jordan, Andreessen Horowitz newest general partner, is quick to say he’s bullish, cautious, driven and circumspect.

Jordan joined the firm in June after serving as the chief executive of reservation site OpenTable and on Thursday consented to an on-stage interview at the Plug and Play Expo in Sunnyvale, Calif. He was quickly asked about valuations, stock market volatility and the state of today’s startups. Here is what he had to say:

Are private company valuations too high?

The consumer Internet has gotten so big that if an entrepreneur has a good idea, it can spread rapidly. The result is businesses growth that has been “historically fast,” says Jordan. Just think Groupon or Facebook.

So far, public stock valuations have reset. But the private market is still trying to find equilibrium, he noted. The result is that some companies have stopped raising money.

So how bad are things?

All this will eventually end, suggests Jordan, who is a long-term bull. IPO liquidity will return when public market gyrations slow down. But until then, no company in registration wants to be on a road show when the market drops 4%.

“We’re watching Europe very closely,” he adds, noting that the instability could catalyze a Lehman like collapse.

What about today’s youthful founders?

The age of founders at Silicon Valley companies has been “hurdling down,”concedes Jordan. Mark Zuckerberg is a prime example.

“In many cases, they have never worked in a business before,” he adds. So should investors care? Whether straight out of school or 40 years old, founders shouldn’t start businesses unless they have good game plans.

“If they have great ideas, they should run with them,” says Jordan. “Push it hard, swing big.”

On Andreessen Horowitz

The firm does very early and later stage investments with a preference for valley companies, says Jordan. It is “stage agnostic,” “age agnostic” and interested in companies that are “wildly driven.”

If an entrepreneur says yes to the question of whether he would sell out to Visa for $50 million, he’s not our guy, says Jordan.