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VC Horowitz: 'Why we only made $78m on $1bn Instagram sale'

Duo banked return that was 312 times their $250k stake

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Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen's high-tech venture fund Andreessen Horowitz has made out handsomely on Facebook's $1bn purchase of Instagram.

Andreessen's partner Ben Horowitz reckons the duo have made 312 times their original investment in the zero-revenue smartphone photo sharing site after committing $250,000 two years ago. That'll be worth $78,000,000 (£54m) when the acquisition closes, Horowitz wrote here.

Andreessen himself is a board member of Facebook - the board that we've been told was all but excluded from Mark Zuckerberg's decision to buy.

Horowitz was responding to criticism that he and Andreessen had "fumbled" the Instagram deal and could have made even more. Also, there was apparently some suggestions of "ethical issues" Horowitz was at pains to set straight.

"Ordinarily, when someone criticizes me for only making 312 times my money, I let the logic of their statement speak for itself," Horowitz wrote.

When Andreessen cashed in on Microsoft's purchase of Skype a year ago, he became the toast of the Silcon Valley tech'n'money set. The Netscape kid convinced the world's largest software company to part with $8.5bn and take loss-making web telco Skype off eBay's hands. Andreessen is reported to have personally more than tripled his $50m stake in Skype.

Andreessen Horowitz is the VC fund that's often reported to be at the centre of a tech-bubble thanks to its valuations and willingness of tech companies to cough up. The company, meanwhile, has just raised a fund worth $1.5bn that will swing into action immediately - and that comes on top of the $2.7bn pot amassed since it was founded in 2009. ®

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