Connie Chan, a partner with the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which focuses on China poses for a portrait at their office.
Nick Otto—The Washington Post/Getty Images
By Polina Marinova
July 17, 2018

Venture firm Andreessen Horowitz has promoted Connie Chan to general partner with a focus on consumer investments.

Chan, a partner who joined as an analyst in 2011, is the first general partner to get promoted from within the firm. Her promotion means that Andreessen Horowitz is breaking its long-standing requirement that general partners need to have operating experience prior to joining.

In a blog post, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz wrote, “When we founded the firm, 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. That was our General Partner requirement, because we were determined to be the best place for technical founders to learn how to be CEO.”

A few months ago, the rule began to seem dated, so the firm decided to drop it.

“She is the first exception to the rule,” Jeff Jordan, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, told Fortune. “We feel like the firm has gotten to a level where there’s a lot of support for first-time founders. Connie brings many new strengths to the general partnership.”

When Chan arrived at Andreessen Horowitz seven years ago, she showed an immediate interest in consumer investments, so she began working closely with Jordan. Some of her most notable deals include visual bookmarking site Pinterest and scooter and bike-sharing company Lime.

“We approach the same deals through different lenses,” Jordan said. “I look for strategy and metrics, while she comes at it with product and consumer expectations.”

Chan has also spearheaded Andreessen’s Asia network, which helps Silicon Valley companies navigate opportunities in Asia while also helping Asia-based companies better understand opportunities in Silicon Valley. She’s been called “Silicon Valley’s China whisperer,” and she’s also speaking on a Fortune Brainstorm Tech panel on Tuesday focused on Chinese innovation.

“I’m constantly looking for companies that are pushing the envelope by creating uniquely native mobile experiences,” she told Fortune. “I’m spending a lot of time with great companies I see in China that I think can translate well into the U.S. market.”

Chan’s promotion comes on the heels of news that Andreessen Horowitz hired Katie Haun, its first female general partner to co-lead its new crypto fund. Chan is the second female GP to join the ranks of the prominent Silicon Valley venture firm.

“The two are insanely qualified and well-respected by all the other GPs,” Jordan said. “Katie is also freaking awesome. In both of these cases, we’re very proud of the quality of the person.”

Asked about her promotion, Chan points to the firm’s diversity of thought and support for new ideas.

“When I think about Andreessen and what it stands for, it’s simple — I want to be on the team that wins championships,” she said. “When I raised my hand and said I wanted to build a China network, everyone was on board. It’s a testament to the firm’s desire to evolve and make changes.”

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