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Andreessen to get even richer with LoudCloud IPO

Just don't ask what it does

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Marc Andreessen, the not-too-poor co-founder of Netscape, has filed plans for an IPO of his latest Net venture LoudCloud.com. The company is worth around $600 million and he hopes to make $150 million from the float.

Andreessen owns 18.2 per cent of Loudcloud, giving him another $100 million to sit on his estimated $500 million current worth (excuse us while we spit with envy). VC company Benchmark Capital owns the largest stake - 19.4 per cent and another 8.8 per cent is owned by the company's CEO, Benjamin Horowitz, who used to be head of AOL's e-commerce section.

There's been minor rustlings about this being a bad time for a float (where is the stock ever not volatile?) but with ole Marcy boy on board and the fact that LoudCloud doesn't do silly consumer stuff, it looks like a safe-ish bet. Of course, what you all want to know is, what does LoudCloud actually do? This is a bit of a toughy - even after trawling through its Web site. Obtuse terminology squashes out the real words, leaving you with a strange sense of emptiness. However, it is safe to say it builds Web site back-end stuff. Two almost intelligible excerpts on its products are below:

"A new scaling technology called Rapid restore lets Loudcloud instantaneously tap into a pool of stand-by servers to replace a failed machine in a live environment."

And:

"Global Connect will include global load balancing, which means Internet traffic will automatically be distributed to the customer site geographically closest to its end users."

Not that LoudCloud is making any money of course. It lost $49 million last half-year and is now $122 million in the red. This stands against an annual revenue of around $4 million. It even made a point of telling people not to expect a profit in the near future in its filing.

And we'll leave you with a Andreessen-is-so-rich-it-makes-you-sick fact: he was a millionaire before he could legally rent a car. He's 29 now. ®

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