Andreessen Horowitz has promoted Connie Chan to general partner, scrapping one of its longstanding rules about who can and can't hold the leadership position. Upon its founding in 2009, the venture capital firm created a rule that only former founders and CEOs of tech companies could be a general partner, effectively precluding anyone from being promoted to the role from within. Chan had been neither, having joined as an analyst in 2011.

The appointment is significant not only because Chan is the first person to be promoted to general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, but also because a VC firm is acknowledging that one of its founding principles was outdated. Until this year, Andreessen Horowitz's leadership group consisted primarily of white men.

The decision could lead to other VC firms reassessing internal policies that contribute--directly or indirectly--to the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley. Chan is just the second woman to join the senior ranks at Andreessen Horowitz, following the hiring of Katie Haun to co-manage its new $300 million crypto fund last month. Huan had also neither led or founded a company, but Andreessen Horowitz didn't formally announce the elimination of the rule at the time.

In a blog post announcing Chan's promotion on Tuesday, co-founder Ben Horowitz discussed the creation of the rule and the original thinking behind it. "We made a brand promise that if you raised money from us, we would put a Founder or CEO of a significant technology company on your board," Horowitz wrote. "These were great ideas, but it meant that we did not promote General Partners from within. And in my heart, I knew that one day we would have to promote Connie or miss out."

Published on: Jul 18, 2018