Prolific Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is offering a free seven-week program starting in late February 2020 called the “a16z Crypto Startup School.”
Famous for being one of the early backers of Facebook and Instagram, Andreessen Horowitz has added a number of cryptocurrency/ “blockchain” firms to its portfolio in recent years and says it manages a $350M USD crypto fund and a $650M USD bio fund.
By offering the free program, Andreessen Horowitz hopes to help rectify, “the lack of widespread understanding of (blockchain/crypto) technology’s capabilities, and the best practices required to take it mainstream.”
Classes will be convened in person and recordings posted:
“The lectures will be in person in Menlo Park, Cali., and afterwards we’ll be putting videos of the event along with curriculum materials online.”
Both formats will be free:
“The program is completely free. There is no charge and we don’t take equity. The curriculum is meant to supplement — not replace — the many other excellent programs and resources that help founders learn about building tech startups.”
According to Andreessen Horowitz:
“We are particularly excited about the promise of blockchain computers such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many more recent projects they’ve inspired.”
“Blockchains are new types of computers where the unique capability is trust between users, developers, and the platform itself. This trust emerges from the mathematical and game-theoretic properties of the system, without depending on the trustworthiness of individual network participants. This in turn enables the credible creation of powerful new computing primitives, such as digital money, smart contracts, and decentralized organizations.”
“Blockchain,” a type of encrypted, distributed, and allegedly “immutable” (permanent) type of database has been touted by many primary investors as, “the foundation of the fourth industrial revolution.”
Most of the blockchain startups that raised money via ICO (initial coin offering) between 2013 and 2017 have so far failed to deliver revolutionary products.
While admitting that, “blockchains have endured a variety of challenges, false starts, and misconceptions. Some of the challenges are technical (e.g., scalability), some are product-related (e.g., user experience),” Andreessen Horowitz says the problem is mainly one of public perception.
The company plans to present at its classes lessons gleaned from, “world-class entrepreneurs and technologists on topics like product and technology design, organization development, go-to-market strategy, and legal/regulatory best practices…for the purposes of accelerat(ing) the development of existing (blockchain) projects, and inspir(ing) more talented people to join the space.”
“If you are as excited about crypto as we are, and have experience building software products, we invite you to apply,” the company writes. “You will hear from leading technologists and investors in the field, and learn the fundamentals of building a crypto startup.”